F1 »

Mercedes baffled by poor race performance

After an impressive qualifying session on Saturday that saw Michael Schumacher start from third on the grid, the Malaysian Grand Prix offered only bad luck and conundrums.
Michael Schumacher had been riding high on Saturday, basking in the success of having put his Mercedes into third place of the grid for the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang. He was hoping for the success to continue into race day, but instead he found himself pointing in the wrong direction on the very first lap.

"I was touched at the back soon after the start and the car spun which really decided my afternoon," said the multiple former world champion, reflecting on the eventful race. He managed to get back underway, but had dropped to 16th place by the end of the first lap.

"During the first part of the race, I just tried to stay on track as you couldn't see anything, and it was the right decision to halt the race," he said. "After the re-start, the pace wasn't that far off but it was the same for a lot of teams so there was no way to gain positions." Schumacher eventually finished in tenth place to at least salvage a championship point from the day.

Things were little better for his young team mate and compatriot, Nico Rosberg, who started from eighth place on the grid but who struggled throughout and eventually fell back to 13th by the chequered flag after what he described as an "unlucky day" at Sepang.

"I had a good restart and because of a good strategy I was in fourth position," he said. "But then I had problems with my intermediate tyres; the degradation was very high which forced me to do another pit stop for a new set."

Things were better on the slicks that he took on for the final stage of the race, which enabled him to finish in front of McLaren's Jenson Button, but the car still did not deliver the sort of performance that the team had hoped for.

The big puzzle that Mercedes are left scratching their heads over is the disparity between their qualifying and their race performances.

"Clearly we have a conundrum with this car that we have to unravel," was team principal Ross Brawn's admission. "We struggled to get the tyres to work properly in the race today. There were little windows when we seemed to get them working and other times where we fell out of them completely.

"I don't believe that we are abusing the tyres, just not using them properly, and it's a problem that we have to solve if we are going to move forward with the car," he continued. "However I am confident that we have enough strength and the right people to unravel the problem. We will be getting our heads down back at the factory next week and doing just that."

Brawn's thinking was echoed by both of his drivers.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
25.03.2012- Race, Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03
25.03.2012- Race, Start of the race, Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03
25.03.2012- Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber F1 Team C31 and Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03
25.03.2012- Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR7 and Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03
Michael Schumacher
Michael Schumacher and the 1996 Ferrari F310
Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso - Mercedes, McLaren
Chase Carey, Ross Brawn & Sean Bratches
George Russell, Mercedes junior programme, [Credit: Mercedes]
Valtteri Bottas, Nico Rosberg
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Nico Hulkenberg - Renault Sport F1
Nigel Mansell - McLaren-Mercedes
Who will replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes?
Who will replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes?

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

Calvin _

March 25, 2012 3:00 PM

Not really baffling. Their trick rear wing only works in free practise and qualifying when the drivers can use DRS whenever they want. In the race, it's more restricted so they don't get the benefit that FP and Q suggest.

Manxie - Unregistered

March 25, 2012 7:13 PM

guys, i'm stunned, disappointed and shocked by the sheer lack of pace from the mercs. Shocker! Lokks like richard's got a point afterall. Ross, back to the drawing board for you...hurry!

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.