Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher brought their MERCEDES GP PETRONAS cars home in fifth and sixth positions respectively at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix today.
Starting on the option tyres from fifth on the grid, Nico had a great start to overtake Lewis Hamilton into turn six to move up to fourth. Michael, starting from seventh on the grid, was running in sixth and also using the softer rubber. The pair made only one stop during the race, Michael on lap 15 and Nico on lap 16, to switch to the prime tyres. Nico lost a position to Hamilton at the stops and they remained in fifth and sixth positions for the remainder of the 49-lap race. Nico chased down Sebastian Vettel at the end of the race but was unable to pass in the turbulent air.
Today’s result puts MERCEDES GP PETRONAS in third position in the Constructors’ Championship with 18 points.
“I had a great start today and was happy to be running in fourth position by the end of the first lap. However I lacked pace on the option tyres in the first stint and struggled for pace. Lewis beat me on strategy in the pit stop which we need to analyse later and see what happened. I couldn’t quite get Sebastian at the end as I lost grip in the dirty air when I got close. However fifth place is a good start for us and I am confident that we can develop well from here.”
“After three years away, I’m happy to say that I had fun out there today, especially at the beginning with the good start that I had. I can live very well with sixth position and it gives both me and the team a good base to make progress. I have every confidence that we will improve the car. Working with the team for our first race together was very positive and the guys did a great job so I would like to thank them for their support in my comeback race. We all know that we have some way to go but we will get there. The season is long.”
“Nico and Michael did a great job this weekend to finish in fifth and sixth positions and now we need to give them the car to improve on those placings. We were not quick enough today and our race pace was not there to finish further up the field and challenge for a podium position. We have some hard work ahead but I am confident that we can progress the car strongly in the next few races. The team performed extremely well this weekend and for our first race with our two new drivers, we achieved two strong points-scoring finishes.”
“It was a difficult race weekend for our team with these extremely hot conditions in Manama. We looked better in the practice sessions than during the race and it appears that we could not handle the tyres as well as the teams ahead of us. Fifth position for Nico and sixth place for Michael was the best possible result today. We have some work to do and we are confident that we will catch up soon.”