• United States Grand Prix - Qualifying

Schumacher exceeds Mercedes' expectations

ESPN Staff
November 17, 2012 « Grosjean philosophical over penalty | Massa prepared for start penalty »
Michael Schumacher starts from his highest grid position since the Italian Grand Prix © Sutton Images

Michael Schumacher admitted that Mercedes did not expect to be able to qualify in the top six for the United States Grand Prix.

While Mercedes looked stronger this weekend than it has at recent races, Schumacher's sixth place was a surprise considering he hadn't made it through to Q3 at either of the last two races. With Romain Grosjean receiving a five place grid penalty, Schumacher will start from fifth place having been cleared of blocking Fernando Alonso, and he said it was a higher grid position than the team had hoped for.

"We were anticipating just to get in to the top ten, that's probably what we were thinking could be good; maybe seventh or eighth as a maximum," Schumacher said. "Then to be sixth and fifth for another reason is welcome, particularly being on the right side of the grid. I hope it stays like this; I hear some rumours that the grid is not completely clear yet so I hope to stay on that side of the grid."

Schumacher put his impressive performance down to getting the tyres in the right operating window at the right time, with the car set-up also matching the conditions.

"The tyres are very crucial; we've known this all year long. Here they are maybe more peaky in their behaviour because of the track condition and the circumstances. It was clearly going out for that lap because I tried already on the lap before - or two laps before then - to set a time and it was not yet ready, but then the lap everything was switched on and it was there. And then the balance fitted that circumstance as well."