The Mercedes F1 team is reeling from a dreadful qualifying performance at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, where neither Nico Rosberg (13th) or Michael Schumacher (17th) came close to cracking the top-ten shootout for pole.
The result was the team’s worst qualifying performance since the 2010 European Grand Prix, raising concerns that the team is in a major form slump.
“It was quite a tough and difficult day for us,” said Schumacher, whose weekend was also interrupted by a crash in Friday practice, his second in as many events.
“We have to clearly see that we did not have the pace to be at the front. I could have done a faster lap probably, without the dust having been brought onto the track by Maldonado, but then I still do not think it would have taken me into Q3.
“I don’t think we could have done much more. This morning we practised for long runs, as yesterday we could not do that due to the rain, but I don’t think it compromised our performance. You have to accept the gap [to the front runners] is quite big.
Perhaps the team’s efforts in concentrating on longer runs during the dry-weather practice sessions might yield both drivers finishes in the lower points-paying positions, Rosberg added.
“Qualifying is always a compromise and I was focused on finding a good race set-up for tomorrow as we may have more tyre degradation on our car than others, but it is still disappointing not to make Q3 by two tenths,” he said.
The win at the Chinese Grand Prix must feel like an age ago…