Pleasure and pain for Mercedes

By on Sunday, March 18, 2012

Photo credit: Mercedes AMG F1

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn admitted his team posted a poor Australian Grand Prix result but that he leaves Melbourne convinced the team has a “fundamentally quick car”.

Both Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg made good starts with Schumacher moving up a place from fourth with his team-mate slotting in behind after starting from seventh. Both held station early in the race but on lap 11 Schumacher suddenly slid off track while tussling with Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel. He limped back to the garage where he retired from the race.

Rosberg, stuggling with both tyre choices, rose and fell through the ranks as the stints unfolded and by the time the race entered its final phase was locked in a battle for seventh with Sauber’s Sergio Pérez. He attempted a move, the pair clashed and a puncture dropped the German to 12th on the final lap.

"After a very encouraging weekend, today was not a good result for us,” said Brawn. “Despite excellent starts, both Michael and Nico had difficulties from the start of the race with their tyres. With the development of the circuit and the track temperatures, we fell out of the working window, and struggled with degradation.

“However, we remain positive as both here and over the winter tests, we have demonstrated that we have a fundamentally quick car and we have a lot to build on,” he added. “So we need to look at what happened today, unravel the problem and work out where we need to improve."

Schumacher, too, was unconcerned despite the gearbox problem that forced him to retire. “It was especially unfortunate as we have not had this problem during the winter tests and were very reliable,” he said. “This is why I am not concerned, as I know things like this happen in racing, and our reliability is not in question. I believe I could have had a good race this afternoon and I can still take some positives out of the weekend, as we have seen our car was confirming our feelings, and is definitely a clear step forward. We can now build on that and start improving further.”

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