Mercedes' Michael Schumacher claims that he did the best possible job at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after set-up difficulties.
The German had difficulties in reaching the top speed of his team-mate Nico Rosberg in qualifying at the Yas Marina circuit and was again hampered by small set-up problems in the race.
"A reasonable race today," he summed up, "Considering that we did not manage to find the perfect balance yesterday, we managed to get the maximum out of our situation today. I also lost some small parts of the car which cost us some balance.”
As well as offering a possible explanation as to why he wasn't able to match his young team-mate's pace, Schumacher also reported difficulties with the tyres after trying a different strategy which involved saving a set of options in the final stage of qualifying.
“The tyres gave up rather early in the first stint, but that was due to our tyre strategy yesterday, when we wanted to save a fresh set for the race," he explained, "I therefore had quite used tyres for the start.”
Schumacher struggled with his used tyres in the first stint, losing a first lap battle with Rosberg and then being unable to hold on to his team-mate.
Unlike several previous races in the run-in of the F1 2011 season, Schumacher found himself falling further behind as the race wore on. However a seventh place is by no means a disgrace when Mercedes cannot match the pace of the leading three teams, a point acknowledged by the team's technical director Ross Brawn.
“Our performance today reminds us of the little bit that we have to close down to become truly competitive, but it is within reach," he insisted, "Both Nico and Michael drove extremely well, and with a sound strategy, we achieved possibly the best results that we can at the moment.”
by Philip Barclay