• Malaysian Grand Prix

Mercedes pair blame race pace

ESPNF1 Staff
April 10, 2011 « KERS kept me ahead of Webber - Heidfeld | »
Michael Schumacher was battling in the midfield for much of the race in Malaysia © Getty Images

Mercedes' drivers Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg both pointed to a lack of race pace as the reason that the team endured a disappointing Malaysian Grand Prix.

Schumacher picked up the team's first points with 9th place, while Rosberg finished a lap down in 12th despite having started in the top ten. Although a DRS problem was blamed for the poor qualifying performance, there were no such excuses after the race, with Schumacher saying the W02 is not quick enough in race trim.

"I had a straightforward race today which was even a bit exciting towards the end but really full of ups and downs before," Schumacher said. "The start was quite good and then it was mainly about managing the tyres. We probably couldn't have expected to take more than two points today and we certainly have to work on our race pace which is not yet where we want it to be. We are all aware of that and we are more than ready to keep working hard to make the necessary steps forward. Over one lap, we can already be at a good level when the car is working well, but we need to continue to work on our race performance."

His team-mate Rosberg agreed, but said that there was some evidence that the team had made progress from the first race in Australia.

"It was not my race today and it's been a tough weekend," Rosberg said. "I had a poor start and lost positions which made it very difficult to try and get into the points. Our race pace was not good enough, and it was very difficult to push, so unfortunately we could not perform at the level that we wanted to here. Looking at my qualifying laps, we can take heart from a small step forward from Melbourne so we will keep the hard work up to make further improvements."

Team principal Ross Brawn said that the team had hoped to take advantage of any rain that was forecast, and felt that the drivers had done the best job possible with that they had.

"The team and drivers did a great job today but obviously we are not fast enough at the moment," Brawn said. "We had a couple of stints which proved to be a little too long, as we stayed out to see if the weather might bring an opportunity. That was our decision, and when it didn't rain as had been predicted, we paid the price with the loss of perhaps a position or two.

Overall, the work from the team was strong today with good pit stops and the cars were reliable in very challenging conditions. We will continue to work at it and I look forward to having a more competitive car and being able to mix it where we want to be."