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No points for Mercedes in Melbourne

Despite looking strong through practice and qualifying, neither Michael Schumacher or Nico Rosberg opened their 2012 account at the Australian GP.

Any thoughts rival teams may have had of protesting the result of the Australian Grand Prix in light of the Mercedes team's controversial rear wing were put on hold as neither Silver Arrow made it to the chequered flag in the points.

Despite qualifying a strong fourth fastest, courtesy of Michael Schumacher, and seventh with Nico Rosberg, the Brackley-based team was reduced to a single runner in the early stages, and then left pointless when Rosberg was the victim of a puncture just a couple of laps from home.

Both drivers made excellent starts, with Schumacher making up one place to run third behind the McLarens, and Rosberg spearing between the two Red Bulls to claim fourth into turn one, ahead of the mayhem the broke out around local favourite Mark Webber. Schumacher was still running in third position, albeit under pressure from a recovering Sebastian Vettel when a gearbox problem forced him to retire on lap eleven

"It was an unfortunate end to my race when I lost drive going into turn one," the seven-time champion lamented, "I was trying different gears and occasionally the drive came back but, in the end, I had to go onto the grass to avoid the risk of the car being forced into a spin.

"It was especially unfortunate as we have not had this problem during the winter tests and were very reliable. But this is why I am not concerned, as I know things like this happen in racing, and our reliability is not in question. I believe I could have had a good race this afternoon, and I can still take some positives out of the weekend as we have seen our car was confirming our feelings. It is definitely a clear step forward, so we can now build on that and start improving further."

Rosberg continued to run without problems, and appeared to be on course to complete a two-stop race in the points before Pastor Maldonado crashed out of sixth place. While not caught up in the incident, Rosberg then appeared to be caught out by Sergio Perez and, after a clash of wheels, dropped back to twelfth place.

"I had a perfect start today and was able to gain three positions, but unfortunately we weren't able to maintain that pace, and the race did not turn out as we had hoped," the German sighed, "We have a lot of work to do to understand what went wrong, and how we can use the full potential which our car definitely shows. The end was particularly unfortunate, as Perez and I touched on the straight, causing a puncture which took away a point-scoring finish. I'm still positive, though, as Malaysia is a completely different track, so I'm looking ahead to next weekend now."

Team principal Ross Brawn later revealed that both cars had suffered with tyre problems, explaining Rosberg's loss of pace as the race wore on.

"With the development of the circuit and the track temperatures, we fell out of the working window, and struggled with degradation," he confirmed, "However, we remain positive as, both here and over the winter tests, we have demonstrated that we have a fundamentally quick car and we have a lot to build on. We just need to look at what happened today, unravel the problem and work out where we need to improve."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP
Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP
Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP
Nico Rosberg (GER), Mercedes GP
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Liam48 - Unregistered

March 19, 2012 2:41 PM

I think that the Mercedes will qualify on tue first two rows because they have such an immense top speed advantage compared to the likes of Red Bull. I think the two McLarens and Mercedes will start from the front two rows. There are two long straights and lots if other straights that'll play into the advantage of them. Schumacher was looking good for a top 5 finish before his gearbox broke and I think he'll be top 5 this weekend.

Andy - Unregistered

March 19, 2012 5:23 PM

Another typical Nico race, except he didn't even qualify that well this time. Great start (he is good at those I have to say), defended his position stoutly (lots of practice because he is always slower than the guys behind him) and finish somewhere lower than he qualified. Even without the last lap incident he would have only been in the lower reaches of the top ten. They need a real racer in that car to support the "old boy"! Though MS looked pretty good until his car stopped talking to him.

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