• Chinese Grand Prix - FP2

Mercedes takes 'small step forward'

ESPNF1 Staff
April 15, 2011 « Webber hopes to sort KERS | »
Nico Rosberg was fourth fastest on Friday © Sutton Images

Both Mercedes drivers heralded a step forward after setting the fourth and fifth fastest times during Friday practice for this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix.

The team has failed to live up to the high expectations set by its promising winter testing pace, with a best finish of ninth over the first two races. However, both Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher felt practice for the Chinese Grand Prix had offered a minor breakthrough.

"Today we made a small step forward, particularly this morning where we learnt some positive things with the car compared to Malaysia," Rosberg said. "The balance was quite good today, and I really enjoy driving this track. We don't really know where we are right now, and of course what everyone was doing, but today's running gives me hope for an improved performance tomorrow."

Michael Schumacher added: "We've had a good working day here during the first outings on the Shanghai track. We have changed our working approach this weekend, and I think this has paid off. We concentrated mainly on high fuel loads, and it seems we can find the set-up better than starting from low fuel. The long runs were good in my view which is clearly an improvement on the first two races. There is room for further improvement so I look forward to understanding what we can achieve in qualifying."

Schumacher's times were two seconds off his team-mate early in FP2 but Mercedes' motorsport boss said that could be explained by a KERS problem.

"For part of the session, Michael's KERS was not operational which cost him lap time," he said. "We will rectify this problem for tomorrow. On Saturday and Sunday, we will learn whether and how much we have improved."