Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher qualified in ninth and tenth places today for the Korean Grand Prix.
Both Michael and Nico qualified in the top ten for the ninth time in the 2012 season. The main challenge of the session was optimising new tyre usage over the long lap. Nico progressed through Q1 with a single run, and set his best time of the session on his timed lap in Q3. Michael’s fastest time was set in Q2 on a used set of option tyres, and he will start tomorrow from 10th position.
Ninth place was the maximum that we could have achieved today. We set up the car well but we’re lacking the performance to challenge any further towards the front. We’re working hard to improve the situation, and hopefully our race pace will be better and we can score some decent points here in Korea. The track layout here and the cooler temperatures should suit to us more than in the recent races, so I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow.
The positive aspect about today’s performance was that we made a step forward relative to last weekend and got into Q3. But overall, it was an average kind of day. We were expecting to end up somewhere between positions eight and ten, but things didn’t go quite right in the final sector of my quick lap. Looking ahead to tomorrow, I think we can hope to look quite respectable: our long runs were quite good, as were the tyres. Let’s see how the race unfolds.
Qualifying progressed as we had expected this afternoon and the drivers did a good job to deliver decent laps at the right times. We were looking for that little bit of extra performance in Q3 but didn’t manage to extract it from the car. The challenge was finding a good balance over a whole lap and, while we were particularly competitive in the first part of the circuit, we were losing time with understeer in the next two sectors. Tomorrow will be a very tactical race, with a lot going on throughout the field, and we still have a lot to achieve this weekend.
The first two qualifying sessions saw a very tight group behind the quickest cars. In Q1, P4 and the crucial P17 were separated by a little over half a second, while P5 to P14 were covered by less than three-tenths. In Q2, Nico in eighth place was separated by less than two-tenths from P4. Our target was to get into the top ten and Q3 with both drivers, which we just achieved with Nico starting from ninth and Michael from tenth position on the grid tomorrow. There will be strong competitors not only in front of us, but also behind.
Source: Mercedes AMG