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Rosberg fourth, but Schumacher suffers again

Nico Rosberg upheld Mercedes' honour on a better day for the Three-Pointed Star in China.
There were mixed fortunes for Mercedes GP Petronas in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix, with Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher qualifying in fourth and 14th positions respectively.

Both drivers appeared to be in trouble when the red flag appeared to facilitate the removal of Vitaly Petrov's stricken Renault with just two minutes remaining in the second phase of qualifying but, despite a track crowded with rivals desperate to make the pole position shoot-out, Rosberg found both the space and time to leap into the final session. Schumacher, meanwhile, was unable to make a robust effort to make space for himself work to his advantage, and crossed the line without a discernable improvement in his position.

Back on track for the final ten-minute showdown, and with pole position only a faint possibility given the disparity in performance between Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes, Rosberg did well to earn himself 'best of the rest' status with a lap good enough for fourth on the grid, albeit nearly a second off Sebastian Vettel's pace.

"I'm happy with our performance and it was a good day for us," the young German commented, "It's clear that we have improved the car this weekend and I'm really pleased for everybody back at the factory who will have enjoyed watching that today. We're still not where we want to be, but we have made progress and are closer to some of the guys in front of us, today at least. We have also worked hard on the race pace so there is every chance of a good race tomorrow."

With team principal Ross Brawn already conceding that an overheating problem had made life difficult in Malaysia, and with an aero upgrade expected in Barcelona next month, the failure of another part was the last thing that Schumacher would have wanted on his crucial Q2 run, but it appears that, for the second race running, the seven-time champion suffered problems with his DRS, otherwise reputed to be the most efficient in the field.

"What a shame for me today as we have clearly demonstrated this weekend that as a team we have improved a lot," he sighed, "Nico proved that strongly with his fourth place, which was our realistic target.

"I didn't quite get my lap together in Q2 and, since then, we have found out that my rear wing was not functioning correctly as I was braking into turn 14. I am obviously hoping to have a strong start and that we have good race pace tomorrow so I can hopefully make up some positions."

Brawn confirmed that there had been an improvement in general performance since the WO2 appeared lacklustre in opening practice, but lamented Schumacher's DRS failure.

"The car has been much better this weekend and both drivers were in a good position going into qualifying today," he reflected, "It's a shame for Michael this afternoon as it didn't quite work out with the red flag and then his rear wing malfunctioned at the end of his crucial lap costing valuable time, but Nico did a fantastic job, firstly to get into Q3 in tricky circumstances, and then putting in a great lap on tyres which had already seen some usage just before the red flag. I'm pleased that we have stabilised the situation and made some encouraging progress this weekend. There is still a long way to go, but it's a start."



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Ross Brawn and Simon Cole [Pic credit: Mercedes]
16.04.2011- Saturday Practice, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
15.04.2011- Friday Practice 2, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
15.04.2011- Nico Rosberg (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
16.04.2011- Saturday, Nico Rosberg (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Pirelli 2017 tyre test [Credit: Pirelli]
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H

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Diarmuid - Unregistered

April 16, 2011 6:32 PM

No he didnt Richard. Give me a link to prove that Nico had the same problem in Chinese qualifying. I have read nothing about that. In the last race he had a similar problem but we dont know if it had the same effect on his car. You were very quiet after last weeks race when Michael destroyed Nico on race pace. He was nearly a second a lap quicker.

Diarmuid - Unregistered

April 16, 2011 5:43 PM

What a load of drivel being spoken here again. Yes it was a bad performance but the DRS didnt close again properly. You can see that by the amount he overshot turn 14 by. I dont see anyone calling for Webber to retire when he finished almost 2 seconds off his team mate and 17 places behind him on the grid. All the Schumacher haters conveniently ignore that Michael finished 40 seconds ahead of Nico at the last race despite a mechanical problem in qualifying costing him a lot of places. Michael trounced Nico all weekend in Malaysia except for qualifying where his wing didnt work.



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