• Chinese Grand Prix - Qualifying

Schumacher surprised by gap to Rosberg

ESPNF1 Staff
April 14, 2012 « Kobayashi targets Mercedes pair | Button wary of Kobayashi threat »
Michael Schumacher will start from second on the grid © Sutton Images
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Michael Schumacher admitted he was surprised by the pace of Nico Rosberg during qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix, but was keen to congratulate his Mercedes team-mate on securing pole position.

With Lewis Hamilton facing a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, Rosberg and Schumacher will line up next to each other on the front row of the grid - the first Mercedes 1-2 in qualifying since 1955. But Schumacher was over a half a second off his team-mate after a sensational lap from Rosberg.

When asked how he had reacted to the result, Schumacher said: "I said well done because that was a phenomenal lap. For all of us to see the gap that big is a bit of a surprise. But he is known as a good qualifier and there is no reason to be unhappy, the opposite [is true]. I'm happy for him, his first pole, congratulations. We now know that it will be the first front row of proper Mercedes - Silver Arrows - and that it's going to take place in the Chinese Grand Prix tomorrow."

Despite strong qualifying performances earlier this year, Mercedes has scored just one point this season, but Schumacher pointed out that he was still waiting for a clean race.

"Actually my two races ... one we retired and one I got put back a few places because I got spun around," he added. "It's not completely clear what we would have seen with our car. It's certainly a question mark whether we can keep our [qualifying] positions, but one thing is for sure that we will try our best to do so."