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Schumacher happy to lead the way

13 April 2012

Michael Schumacher said he was pleased with Mercedes' performance on the opening day of running in Shanghai after topping Friday practice for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Having run third in the rain-affected opening session, the seven-time champion emerged on top of the pile in a busy second session as teams worked hard to maximise track time after the early conditions had hampered running.

Schumacher's best time saw him finish a tenth of a second clear of Lewis Hamilton and the German said he was pleased with his day's work even he said the team still wasn't where it wanted to be with the WO3.

"It was a trouble-free day, and I am quite happy with how our car is handling so far here,” he said. “The balance of the car was reasonably good, and obviously a balanced car contributes a lot to lap time.

“As a team, we are a lot stronger in certain areas this season, and we have a much better base to work from, although we are not quite where we want to be with this car yet but I am confident we will get there. We will now have to look deeper into the data in order to find out where we really are here, but I am looking forward to tomorrow's qualifying."

Team-mate Nico Rosberg was also happy with the outcome of the second session, having tried a number of different settings on his car en-route to the fifth quickest time.

"It's important for us at the moment that we try a lot of different evaluations during practice to improve our race pace,” he said. “So I think it was a decent start to the race weekend today as we learned quite a few interesting things. The conditions were so changeable today that it was difficult to take the right decisions in terms of set-up work, and we struggled a little with the front tyres.

“That may have been caused by the cold temperatures today, and can change very quickly between now and the race, so I am not too concerned."


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