Mercedes' Nico Rosbeg ended the F1 2011 season with a disappointing seventh place in the Brazilian Grand Prix and he is now hoping for better in 2012.
Initial promise for Mercedes this weekend faded into a frustrating lack of race pace. The young German managed to split the two Ferraris in qualifying around the Interlagos track, but was no match for the leading three teams early in the race, before fading to finish behind compatriot Adrian Sutil in his Force India.
“Today wasn't an ideal ending to the season, and although I scored some points, I expected to finish higher than P7,” Rosberg said. “I didn't get a good start, and I had problems with my tyres overheating as the track temperatures were very high. So I had to manage my tyres very carefully during the whole race which impacted on the pace.”
After an anti-climactic weekend, Rosberg's thoughts have already turned to 2012: “Now I'm looking ahead and I hope we can do better in 2012,” he continued. “I look forward to an exciting time in the winter as we work hard to develop a better car for next year.”
And indeed a better car will be necessary if Mercedes want to hang on to Rosberg. Contracts in F1 are notoriously fragile bonds and are unlikely to stop the likes of Ferrari from sniffing around for 2013, particularly if Mercedes go another year without a podium.
Meanwhile Rosberg's team-mate Michael Schumacher's race was compromised by a poor start, and then ruined completely after contact with Bruno Senna's Lotus Renault resulted in a puncture and a long crawl back to the pits.
“It was a bit of a shame today with the incident with Bruno, which was caused perhaps due to some lack of experience. Otherwise I think we could have had a nice race with some solid points. After the collision, all I could do was try to fight as much as possible, and hope for rain which did not come,” Schumacher said.
Like his team-mate, Schumacher was quick to turn his focus to the development of Mercedes' 2012 challenger.
“We very much look forward to next season now. With all the effort that is being put into the development of the car, I am confident we can make another step forward to where Mercedes belongs; fighting at the top,” he concluded.
by Philip Barclay