Michael Schumacher said it would be an understatement to describe his penultimate race in F1 as a struggle after a disappointing result in the United States Grand Prix.
Schumacher had started from fifth on the grid but went backwards when the race got underway – eventually trailing in down in 16th spot after the team was forced to switch him onto a two-stop strategy when he struggled with his tyres.
“I can't find any words other than ironic ones for the race today - there was a lot of action around me but unfortunately in the wrong direction,” he said. “To say that the race was a real struggle would be an understatement. I couldn't get any grip from my first set of tyres, and there must have been some kind of damage for them to perform so badly.
“We had to change our strategy to two stops which then compromised our race even further. All in all, it was much worse than expected today, especially considering that things did not look that bad yesterday and Friday.”
Team-mate Nico Rosberg, running an older-spec car, had been forced to start from 17th on the grid after struggling in qualifying and although he came through to 13th, it meant Mercedes failed to score for the fifth straight race.
However, team boss Ross Brawn said there were still things for the team to take away from the weekend as it seeks to ensure it hits the ground running in 2013.
“After a good qualifying result, Michael's first set of tyres performed very badly today and we decided to convert his strategy to a two-stop race,” he said. “Once we got onto another set, the lap times came back up to what we expected but having such a poor first stint made it very difficult for him.
“Nico started a long way back and conserved his tyres well as we knew that we wanted to make a one-stop strategy work. He actually had a pretty good race with respectable lap times, and if we had managed to qualify better, he would have been in a reasonable place.
“Whilst it is disappointing not to score any points, we have learnt a lot about the car and tyres this weekend which will be useful for the future. Despite our result, this has been a great weekend for Formula One in the United States, and it was very pleasing to see so many fans here for the first race in Austin. Our thanks for the organisers for putting on such a good show.”