• Hungarian Grand Prix

Mercedes reveals problem area

ESPN Staff
July 26, 2012 « Webber learning from Hockenheim struggles | Whitmarsh expects strong Red Bull »
Michael Schumacher: "The race and the beginning of the race is a little bit tougher for us" © Sutton Images
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Mercedes has highlighted heavy fuel pace as one of its main problem areas after Michael Schumacher has dropped from third on the grid to seventh in the race at the last two grands prix.

Since the team's early season success in China, Mercedes has struggled to match the frontrunners and has suffered more than others with tyre degradation. The car often shows competitive pace in qualifying and at the end of the race on a light fuel load, but both Schumacher and team principal Ross Brawn say the early stages of races are proving difficult.

"The race and the beginning of the race is a little bit tougher for us," Schumacher said on Thursday. "What is the reason for this? If we knew we wouldn't have this problem, but quite frankly we don't know 100%. With every race and every practice session we understand the car a little bit more, but after Hockenheim, due to the limited running we had in the dry, it was a little bit difficult to be spot on with the setup. Maybe our car is a little bit more difficult to extract the best from and maybe we have to work harder for it than other cars. But we know our car and that's what we have to deal with."

Ross Brawn added that tyre management has been an area in which the team has improved, but still struggles.

"I think we're still not quite in that right group of tyre usage. It's much better than it was but we're still not quite in that right group. So when it gets right on the limit, and even you saw with some of the front-running guys have problems with their tyres towards the end of their stints [in Germany], then they're just in that marginal condition. Perhaps we're not one of the best, but we're a lot better than we used to be. We'll just work hard to try and improve it."

Schumacher added: "I think we have some good ideas how we make improve slightly this weekend and we will try tomorrow to set it up for Budapest and try to get it working even better. We have seen that tyres are the big secret and we have seen that if you get that working it can actually multiply your benefit and that's what we are hoping for."