Michael Schumacher qualified in seventh place* at Suzuka today for the Japanese Grand Prix whilst team-mate Nico Rosberg will start on the back row after being forced to sit out qualifying due to a technical issue.
Michael completed just two timed runs, running prime tyres in Q1 and option tyres in Q2. He set no lap time in Q3. Nico suffered a hydraulic problem in Q1 that prevented him from completing a timed lap and he will start from P23. Michael saved one new and one lightly used set of option tyres for the race; Nico will have three new sets available.
“It was a tricky ending to my qualifying session today, but at least we have saved a set of tyres for the race tomorrow. We are still in a good position for gathering some important points, and obviously that is what I am geared to do. I am very happy with how we worked as a team to improve our performance this weekend, and I am really looking forward to having a good race at this great track which is one of my favourites.”
“On my first lap out in Q1, the team advised that I had a problem and asked me to come back into the pits. We tried to fix it in time for me to complete a lap, however the hydraulic systems are quite complicated and there just wasn’t enough time. So for the race, I have a promising strategy with all the new tyres that I have! But seriously, I will push and try to get into the top ten. That will be my aim tomorrow.”
“It was a mixed qualifying session for us today. We had a hydraulic problem with Nico’s car right at the start of Q1 which we now need to investigate and establish what the cause was. It’s going to be quite a challenge for him starting from the back of the grid but it will be an interesting race with the tyre situation so there should be opportunities. Michael had a good session although the end of Q3 wasn’t as clean as we would have liked. It should be a good race and I look forward to seeing what both Michael and Nico can do.”
“Michael and our team did a calculated job to save tyres during qualifying and it was more important for us to go into the race with the maximum number of fresh tyres than to maximise our grid position. Thanks to our overall strategy for the session, Michael got into Q3 with a single run in Q1 and Q2 – and will start the race with more fresh tyres available than the cars ahead of him, which means he has a variety of strategic options. We will wait to hear from the FIA whether he will ultimately start from seventh on the grid tomorrow. It was unfortunate that Nico suffered a hydraulic problem during Q1 – sorry for that, Nico. This prevented him from completing a timed lap and means he must start from P23 tomorrow. However, three races ago, Michael started last and climbed through the field to a strong fifth place at the finish. That’s positive motivation for us all – Nico first and foremost.”
Source: Mercedes GP