Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg qualified in 13th and 15th positions today for the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka.
Knowing that he would take a ten-place grid penalty, Michael took an aggressive approach to qualifying. He made a single Q1 run on the prime tyre, and a single Q2 run on the option, to finish the session in P13. Michael will have four fresh sets of tyres (two prime, two option) available for tomorrow’s race. Nico finished P15 but will start further up the grid, with a free tyre choice, once penalties have been applied.
It was a shame that we couldn’t do more today, after things hadn’t looked too bad this morning, but we simply didn’t get the performance together. Although we should also say that, knowing the high-speed characteristics of this circuit, we didn’t necessarily expect to look in great shape here. Perhaps I could have made it through to Q3, because the data showed that I lost two-tenths in turn 11 because of traffic, but I wasn’t quite sure what Hamilton was doing ahead of me. I saved a lot of tyre sets and in that respect got the maximum out of the situation. Now we need to wait and see what happens tomorrow. I will be certainly aiming for the best possible result, starting from the back of the grid.
It’s been a difficult weekend for us. Qualifying in 15th place is not where we want to be although I will gain some places due to grid penalties. The times were so close today and it’s disappointing that we couldn’t make it through to Q3. Our pace felt better on high fuel, so hopefully this will work out well in the race and I can gain positions.
Today has been fairly challenging for us and it goes without saying that we’re not happy to see both cars knocked out in Q2. We’ve done a lot of work in the last few races exploring the performance variables of the car and whilst that has increased our understanding, it’s still not enough to be competitive. The balance of the car isn’t too bad though, and we seem to have stronger race pace, so we will try to race well and see what we can achieve.
We struggled to get further than the second part of qualifying, when the fastest time was a little less than a second quicker than Michael’s best. He was missing two-tenths of a second to proceed to Q3 and Nico four-tenths. As a consequence, we will not be in the grid positions where we would have liked to start the race from.
Source: Mercedes AMG