Michael Schumacher felt Mercedes achieved 'the maximum' today in the inaugural Indian Grand Prix.
Schumacher enjoyed a good start and immediately made up three positions to end the opening lap just behind his team-mate, Nico Rosberg. The 42-year-old then trailed the sister MGP W02 until near the end, when he opted to run for five laps longer before his second stop on lap 50. That allowed him to get ahead and he eventually finished fifth - 1.4 seconds in front.
“I am obviously happy about the race today. We achieved the maximum that we could hope for, and as a team we maximised our potential. Fifth and sixth places are a great result for us. On top of that, my car was very nicely sorted for the race and very stable,” Schumacher said.
“At the start, everything worked out according to my strategy as I deliberately didn't want to use KERS in the first two corners and save it for the long straight where I knew that I could make up some positions.
“In the second stint, I managed to maintain my tyres so I could stay out longer and that was enough for fifth place. What's really important at the moment though is that we keep pushing and trying to improve, and that is what we achieved today. To the organisers of the first Indian Grand Prix, I would like to send a big compliment; I'm sure that I am not the only one to say that this was a very positive debut.”
Rosberg meanwhile also felt it was a good result for the team, although unsurprisingly he was somewhat miffed to slip behind Schumacher with just 10 laps to go.
“We can be happy with a good team result and that's what the boys in the garage deserved. I'm also pleased to have gained one place on my grid position. However my strategy was not perfect today and I lost some time in the second pit stop which meant that I wasn't able stay ahead of Michael,” he added.
“I had good pace at the end of the race and pushed very hard but it was impossible to catch him over the last laps. I'm confident that we can repeat this good result in the last two races now. All in all, it has been a good Indian Grand Prix debut for us and I hope all the fans enjoyed the race. I'm looking forward to coming back next year.”
“A very solid race from the drivers and team today, and we are very pleased to have achieved fifth and sixth places,” summarised Mercedes team principal, Ross Brawn. “Michael, Nico and the engineers did an excellent job to focus on getting the car right for the race, and making the best use of the tyres. We certainly got everything that we could out of our current car this weekend.
“It was an exciting race from our two drivers with Michael coming out on top this time, however you could see just how closely matched they are during the race. Nico's second set of tyres faded a little bit more on him whilst Michael was able to stay out longer which was enough to take fifth place. It was a very good result for the team today and I am extremely pleased with how we have worked throughout this weekend.”