Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher will start the Spanish Grand Prix from ninth and seventh positions respectively following today’s qualifying hour at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Today’s qualifying was dominated by a strategic use of tyre sets with a view to tomorrow’s race. Just three teams got both their cars into the top ten shoot-out this afternoon, including MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS. Tomorrow’s grid will see four different teams starting from the top four positions. P2 to P6 on the grid were covered by less than two and a half tenths of a second.
“That was a tricky Qualifying session this afternoon, and seventh position was about the most that we could have achieved. It was a challenge to find the right set-up for the tyres and some of the others did that better than we did today. However with a good strategy tomorrow, we can hopefully gain some places. This has been a mixed up season so far and it’s interesting to see that there are some new guys on the front row tomorrow.”
“We wanted to save tyres this afternoon, which dictated how we managed Q3. I did not complete a timed lap, and now I still have the choice of what tyres to start on tomorrow. Equally, I thought it was better to start from ninth on the grid than eighth, and be on the clean side. It’s clear that some teams have taken a step forward after the three-week break. And I would also say that the field is now even closer together. It’s going to be a tight race tomorrow, although the forecast says it should be cooler, and it will be interesting to see if our choices today pay off at the end of the race.”
“We completed useful race preparation work this morning, showed some improvement and went into qualifying expecting an interesting session due to the desire to save tyres for the race. The story of qualifying indeed turned out to be one of managing tyre use, and it certainly delivered a unique session. From a team perspective, we got two cars into the top ten and both drivers will start from the cleaner side of the grid, while our positions were probably as good as we could have achieved with the way we chose to use the tyres. Tomorrow’s forecast is still for cooler temperatures, and with what we have seen both this weekend and this season so far, we know that a difference of several degrees in track temperature can make a huge difference to how different cars perform. We can expect a very interesting race.”
“A qualifying dominated by tyre saving which most of the teams did and we were no exception. Some sessions are tight, like Q2 when 0.048s separated P5 from P10, others are not, as Lewis’ impressive qualifying time more than half a second ahead of P2 proved. Having said that, it is most likely that we will see changes in the top ten order from today at the end of the race tomorrow. Our target will be to score points with both cars posting consistent lap times as Nico did during his long run at the end of the final practice session this morning.”
Source: Mercedes AMG Petronas