Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg has expressed his disbelief and disappointment after failing to make it through to the top-ten shootout in qualifying for the German Grand Prix.
Rosberg, who won at Silverstone last weekend, had been one of the favourites to start on pole.
However Mercedes misjudged how much the track would improve in the second session, and the German found himself sat in the garage late on as his rivals improved, and he was relegated to eleventh.
“I was really shocked when I saw the times falling in Q2 today and realised that I was in P11,” Rosberg said. “I didn't see it coming and we just underestimated how much the track would ramp up in terms of grip and lap time.”
“I could have been on the front row today and that's why I'm so disappointed,” added the German, who went on to see team-mate, Lewis Hamilton take pole
. “It's been a tough day [for me] but sometimes that's how racing is. I will be doing my best to climb up through the field tomorrow but it won't be easy.”
Mercedes motorsport director, Toto Wolff was apologetic about the strategic blunder: “I'm super sorry for Nico,” said Wolff. “We got things wrong in Q2 and not only did he have the pace to fight for pole today but he has also been instrumental in getting the car right since yesterday.
“We win as a team and we take our setbacks as a team too. Decisions have to be taken and we made the wrong one this time. But tomorrow is another day and hopefully Nico can have a strong race from P11.”
Mercedes team principal, Ross Brawn meanwhile held his hands up and said he was ultimately responsible.
“We misjudged how quickly the track was improving and got caught out. Nico clearly had the pace to qualify at the front today but found himself on the wrong side of the top ten by half a tenth,” Brawn lamented.
“Ultimately, the final decision on the pit wall rests with me and it's clear we could have done a better job today.
“For tomorrow, the only silver lining for Nico is that he has a free tyre choice for the first stint, although unusually there is a real mixture of tyre choices within the top ten as well.”