Despite a brave attempt at a second run in the top-ten shootout this afternoon, Nico Rosberg will line-up ninth on the grid for the British Grand Prix, the ninth round in the F1 2011 World Championship.
Rosberg put in a super committed lap in the closing stages of Q3 in his Mercedes GP W02 and it looked like he might gain at least a few places, but a light shower prevented the German from making any progress and he had to abort the run in the final part of the lap.
“We have made good progress with our technical package this weekend, but P9 is not the best that we could have achieved today,” Rosberg said.
“At the end of Q2, I was in fifth place, but on my final lap in Q3, the track was wet in turn 15 and I just couldn't improve in that final sector. With the pace of the car though, hopefully we can make up some places in the race tomorrow.”
Team-mate Michael Schumacher however had a more difficult time and he actually found himself squeezed out in Q2. The German will now start from 13th.
“Qualifying did not go totally right today but I am not frustrated as I know the reason why,” Schumacher insisted. “Owing to the uncertain weather situation, and in order to not risk driving in the rain, we went out rather early, which simply turned out to be too early.
“On my last lap, the tyres were unfortunately already gone and, especially in turn six, I suffered understeer which cost me the time to make it into the top ten.
“It did not have anything to do with the gearbox issue we experienced this morning [in final practice]. Let's see what can be possible now coming from P13 and having some fresh tyres available - maybe some rain could help.”
“We have had very limited dry running with our new aerodynamic package this weekend, as well as having to come to terms with the change in engine strategies,” summarised team boss, Ross Brawn.
“Rain in the final sector prevented Nico from achieving a better lap time at the end of Q3, which would have made a reasonable difference to our starting position. Michael lost out by less than seven-hundredths in a very close battle in Q2, but it was a patchy qualifying session during which we didn't catch the track at the right times.
“Today was the first step in utilising the new exhaust designs and technologies, and we're still finding our way.”