Nico Rosberg reckons he should be able to better his Istanbul Park fifth place finish today in the F1 2011 Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya, even though he has only qualified in seventh.
Rosberg started third last time out in Turkey in his Mercedes GP W02, but speaking after qualifying for the fifth round in the championship yesterday, he explained that the Brackley-based outfit has paid more attention to race set-up this weekend than it did at the previous events.
“With our focus on the race pace this weekend, it was to be expected that we might suffer a little in Qualifying,” he confirmed. “However I am not too disappointed with seventh place as we should be stronger in the race tomorrow, and I believe we can aim to be better than in Istanbul.
“I have one set of new tyres left which is good for us, and I hope that we can move up with the right strategy.”
Michael Schumacher meanwhile will start in tenth in the sister car, after mechanical issues compromised him in the top-ten shootout.
“Unfortunately in Q3, my KERS system did not work but we reacted in the best possible way,” he continued. “We took the decision to go out on prime tyres to be able to react if other cars did the same. As no-one did, we came in without setting a time so we can now choose our strategy for tomorrow.
“I will certainly try to have another of the good starts that I have made recently, make up some positions right at the beginning, and take it from there.
“With DRS and KERS, overtaking is possible even in Barcelona, so it is important to use your tyres well, and I still have a set of fresh tyres left. I will definitely try to make the best out of it.”
Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn added: “We had a fairly good qualifying session whilst being mindful of preparing for the race and being in the best possible position for tomorrow. We clearly couldn't have challenged the cars right at the front of the grid, however Nico did a very good job, and he is in great shape for tomorrow's race.
“Unfortunately with Michael, we incurred a KERS problem of a nature which made it difficult to think that he could achieve a competitive time, and therefore he did not complete a lap.
“This though has the advantage of giving us maximum choice for his tyre strategy for tomorrow.”