The Mercedes team experienced mixed fortunes in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix, and ended the hour disappointed after initial promise from Michael Schumacher was dashed by the frantic nature of the pole position shoot-out.
The German, exhibiting better form since a sub-par Singapore Grand Prix, vaulted into second position during the first flurry of flying laps, but was unable to carry the performance through after being caught on track at just the wrong time to make the most of his switch to slick tyres midway through the ten-minute session.
"I am somewhat disappointed as the circumstances today were exactly as I had wished them to be," the seven-time world champion admitted, convinced that he should have been higher than his eventual eighth place, "I really hoped for more from qualifying, but it didn't turn out right for us.
"I couldn't have gone any quicker on my lap and there were no issues, so the only explanation is that my tyres cooled down at the beginning when I had to leave the racing line to let Sebastian [Vettel] and Mark [Webber] past. It's a shame that it didn't work out better today."
"Q3 started well with Michael being second fastest on the intermediate tyres," Mercedes' Norbert Haug agreed, "But, after the change to slicks, he got into traffic which lost him tyre temperatures and grip, and that was it. Instead of a possible top five result, he ended up in eighth place after driving excellently in the wet conditions. Tomorrow should be dry, and we will hope to make up places with both our drivers."
Regardless of Schumacher's disappointment, he had to be happier than team-mate Nico Rosberg, who he out-qualified for only the fourth time in 18 races. Having been tipped as a potential spoiler in the five-way world title fight after his short-lived Korean GP performance, the younger German failed to progress past the second stage of qualifying, having to settle for a disgruntled 13th.
"We were on for a good result today but, on the drying track, the intermediate tyres were only good for one fast lap and I was blocked by [Sebastien] Buemi on my lap in Q2," he fumed, "That was it for me and it's disappointing to qualify so far down the field when we could have taken advantage of the conditions."
"It was a very exciting qualifying session and although we made the right decisions, it didn't quite go our way today," team principal Ross Brawn confirmed, "Nico was baulked on his crucial lap, which meant he missed out on Q3. If you look at the sector times, he should easily have made it, so it didn't quite work out as we planned, but there is still a lot to be gained tomorrow. We are in reasonable positions with a ringside seat for the championship race ahead and will be ready to take advantage where we can."