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Mat Coch writes:
Mercedes expects a long afternoon as it struggles around the tight and twisty Hungaroring circuit. It's a situation that appears to have caught the team unaware, its car having worked well at other circuits which feature slower corners, leaving it bewildered by the clear lack of pace.
"I was optimistic going in to the weekend because I thought the track suits our car, so it is a bit of a surprise to see where we are in qualifying," said Nico Rosberg after qualifying. "I expected to be higher up.
Teammate Schumacher agreed. "Lately we've been easily in the top ten and yet we've been pretty easily out of the top ten today."
Part of Schumacher's woes were caused by Pastor Maldonado running off the circuit as the German was on his final flying lap. The dust and debris littering the circuit slowed the seven-time champ enough to see him eliminated from the second phase in a disappointing seventeenth place.
The four-time winner in Hungary was still hopeful he could progress, despite knowing how difficult the circuit is to pass on. "It is difficult but not impossible, with DRS and KERS and so on," he said. "I'm offset in my position to what I should be but then to get to the points is going to be a challenge."
Rosberg was scarcely better, setting just the thirteenth fastest time making it the worst qualifying result of the season. However team boss Ross Brawn does not believe it to be a slight on his drivers, rather an indication of the cars limits.
"I think it's a characteristic of the car we've got," Brawn said. "Of course we've seen perhaps the cars been strong in slow/medium speed generally, and they're not very high speed corners (here) but they're so consistent and so long that the drivers get to a stage where they've got understeer in the car and they can do nothing with it.
"We've tried all the normal things that are available within a racing to dial out the understeer, but then we get other balance issues. It's finding a better solution, a fundamentally better solution.
"I'm not really expecting any miracles"
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