Saturday didn't quite go according to plan for Mercedes, with fuel problems for Nico Rosberg early in the day followed by Michael Schumacher missing out on a Q3 run by the narrowest of margins.

Rosberg missed out on any track time in the final practice session after the team ordered him to pull over almost immediately with a fuel system problem, and the young German admitted that this had put him on the back foot going into qualifying later in the day.

"It definitely makes it difficult to miss out a whole session when everyone else is doing qualy practice and things like that," said Rosberg adding that "I really had to build it up in qualifying.

"In the end, I'm quite pleased. Fifth place, that was what our car was giving today. Maybe if everything was perfect I could have had fourth, beating Mark, but we didn't quite manage that."

Rosberg insisted that it was a good place to start the race from, and that "pace-wise we can beat one or two of the cars in front" meaning that a podium position was still very much on his mind.

"I can still hope for a podium finish tomorrow as we have worked very hard on our race pace over the weekend," he said. "That's why I feel quite positive because the race will depend on good tyre management as the key factor."

His senior team mate Michael Schumacher will have to start four places further back on the grid, after failing to get his Q3 flying lap in before the session ended. The multiple former world champion was clearly not happy about how that had panned out.

"Apparently, we crossed the line with the red lights," said Schumacher. "When I crossed the line I physically saw the green lights ... I don't really know how we managed not to make it over the line early enough to start the second lap but, when I passed the line, the team told me it was too late."

He explained that the strategy had been to run a warm-up lap to 'activate' the tyres before making his flying attempt, and that not being able to get in that fast lap had really cost him.

"It's very disappointing - fourth or fifth is where we should have been," he said. "We could not have achieved pole today as we could not do the times the guys up front were doing, but I could most likely have been able to do the time I was doing earlier in qualifying and start the race from a bit a better position."

Team boss Ross Brawn took the blame for the miscommunication that had cost Schumacher his shot at a representative Q3 time. "We didn't keep him well enough informed of where he was, and we just let it slip a little bit too much," he said.

"Michael chose to do two timed laps, with a slower lap followed by a quicker one," he confirmed. "We mismanaged Michael's run and lost too much time while looking for a gap in the traffic. He therefore crossed the line 0.04s after the chequered flag came out, and was unable to complete his final lap - although he had set his best first sector time before he backed off.

"This was certainly not a session where we achieved our full potential, but Nico did a strong job to recover from the running time he lost this morning," added Brawn. "Even from fifth and ninth positions, we will still have plenty of opportunities to make progress through the field tomorrow."


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