MAY 16, 2010
Mercedes - We Cocked Up But We've Made Progress
Mercedes was left to lament a missed opportunity in Monte Carlo when Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher qualified sixth and seventh after Rosberg had set the quickest Q2 time.
Team principal Ross Brawn said: "I feel very frustrated because we've had a good car all weekend and we didn't get the best out of it. We didn't get Nico out of the garage properly in Q3. The plan was to release the two cars at different times because if you don't and there's an incident, both cars get caught up. The plan was to split them but when we came to release Nico's car we had a problem. He left the garage 30s later than planned and then we had both cars together.
"Nico was getting squeezed between Michael behind him and Rubens Barrichello in front and we just didn't manage it very well as a team. Michael was annoyed after the second or third lap was spoiled," Brawn added, "but when I explained to him what happened he was okay, just frustrated, as we all were. After Q2 we were looking forward to final qualifying and we cocked up."
Rosberg, who had been quickest in Q2 from Felipe Massa's Ferrari, said: "I think I could have had at least a front row and maybe even pole, although that might be a bit optimistic. With Rubens in front and Michael behind I never got into a rhythm until the last lap, when I had a few issues with the brake balance and made a mistake."
Schumacher conceded that Monaco presents challenges that you don't get elsewhere and Brawn explained that both the radio and GPS systems were also proving problematic.
"The radio is a bit patchy and you can get caught out. The GPS screen is not great here either. If you watch it you see cars all over the place they're at the train station and all sorts of things! You do lose a little bit of the normal control you have. Monaco is a bit like that. I'm not making excuses but the team didn't do a very good job and didn't reach its potential. We know that this year we've not been as quick as we want to be and we had a chance to have a real go, so it's doubly frustrating."
Asked whether Rosberg's front row potential was track specific or whether it could be expected to carry through to forthcoming races, Brawn admitted that he wasn't sure.
"We've made some good progress with some of the changes and we'll have to wait until we get to Istanbul to see if they carry through. We've tried a few different things and the drivers and engineers have worked very well together. The set-up has been a bit different to what we've run and we have to understand whether it will carry through."
The team has rubbished suggestions that a longer wheelbase car in Spain was designed to suit Schumacher and that Mercedes has gone better in Monte Carlo because it has reverted to the shorter wheelbase specification.
"It's about different front suspension," Brawn elaborated. "There are two different positions for the wheels where we started and then the forward position we had in Barcelona. We put it back again here because you need a lot of steering lock at the Loews Hairpin and with the suspension forward we couldn't get the lock we needed.
"Honestly, we weren't in great shape in Barcelona and weren't using the tyres properly. They are quite subtle in how you use them and in Barcelona we couldn't get them to work properly. Here we seem to be doing that and we made a step change in performance. It's all about getting the tyres to work properly and if we can do that in Istanbul we should be okay there.
"I wouldn't say we fully understand why we didn't perform as we wanted to in Spain, we've still got a lot of analysis going on and I think there'll be some more changes for Istanbul. My instinct is that we're not quite there yet but we've made some progress."