Belgian F1 Grand Prix 2011: Qualifying Report - Nico P5, Michael P24 (MGP)
Nico Rosberg qualified in fifth place at the end of an action-packed qualifying at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit this afternoon, whilst team-mate Michael Schumacher’s session was unfortunately brought to an early conclusion in Q1.
• Nico´s fifth position on the grid is his best since the Turkish Grand Prix earlier this season
• Michael did not complete a timed lap after his right rear wheel detached between Turns 7 and 8 on his out-lap
• The subsequent accident prevented him from taking any further part in the session
• The team will thoroughly investigate the cause of the incident
• Both cars were running dry set-ups in the expectation of better conditions for the race on Sunday afternoon
“It was a typical Spa day today, and a difficult situation out there with the conditions changing all the time. Wet, intermediates and dry tyres; we had everything today but we made the most out of it. Two cars from the top three teams are starting behind me which is nice to see. The team really got it right with the strategy, and everything that we did worked out well today. I’m confident for a good result tomorrow as we set the car up with the race conditions in mind, and the car has also been working well in all conditions.”
“Well, obviously I would have wished for a different end to today’s qualifying, but it is difficult to drive on three wheels - even if I should have the experience to do so in Spa. Seriously, this is certainly something that should not occur, but then this is also Formula One; we are working at the highest level but still things can happen. At first, I wasn’t sure what had happened, as I just felt myself lose the back end suddenly which is why I instantly apologised to the team. But then I saw the wheel off the car and understood the reason why I had lost control. Trying to find the good in the bad, I´d probably say that I still have some fresh sets of tyres left, and that there is only one direction to go tomorrow: forward.”
“Nico had a very good qualifying session this afternoon. He drove intelligently, pushed when he had to, and the guys on the pit wall called the weather just right. I was really pleased with how things went for him today. Naturally, I am on the other hand disappointed for Michael, because the conditions would have suited him perfectly. We need to look at exactly what happened, but it would appear there was something amiss with the right rear wheel attachment, and we need to go through it carefully tonight to ensure there can be no repeat. Both cars were running a dry set-up, so we did not compromise anything for today´s conditions and we are hoping it will stay dry for tomorrow. Time will tell if that is the right call.”
“Nico and the team delivered a good performance this afternoon. Thanks to the right timing and an excellent lap, we got the most out of the conditions with his fifth place - and Nico also qualified ahead of two of the current Championship contenders. It was a real shame for Michael that he lost his right rear wheel on the very first lap out of the pits. Our apologies go to him, and we need to investigate exactly what happened. Along with all the spectators, we and Michael are looking forward tomorrow to what we hope will be an attacking drive from the back of the grid in his anniversary race. Spa always has something special in store for Michael - just as Michael does for Spa.”
* Official photos and report courtesy of MERCEDES GP PETRONAS *
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