Mercedes GP Petronas drivers Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher finished in seventh and 17th positions today at the European Grand Prix. Nico achieved the current potential of the car while Michael's race was spoiled by a collision on lap 15.
Nico ran a three-stop strategy of used option/new option/used option/prime, stopping on lap 12, 30 and 45. Michael's race was spoiled when, as he left the pits after his first stop, he slid into Petrov in turn one on lap 15. The contact broke his front wing and he had to do a full lap before making an extra stop to replace it. After racing eighth in the early stages, Michael dropped to 20th after the additional stop, costing a likely points finish. Michael stopped just once more after this on lap 31, for prime tyres, which he ran to the end.
Nico Rosberg: "I'm happy with my seventh place today as that is the maximum that we could have achieved and we got everything out of the car. It was great to overtake Jenson at the start, and we made the right strategy choice to go for three stops. The introduction of DRS was a positive for the race here in Valencia, and we saw some nice overtaking moves. Now we need to keep pushing for our two home races to close the gap to the fastest teams. I'm sure the whole team will work very hard before Silverstone, and I look forward to racing in front of so many people from the team and their families."
Michael Schumacher: "Not a very satisfying race for me today. The outcome was decided after lap 15 when I slid into Petrov and lost the points I could perhaps have achieved. Our race pace should have allowed me to finish more or less where I started, but that is only speculation after the incident. I saw Petrov quite late, even though I was aware that he was coming, and tried to brake as late as possible and go round the corner with him. But when I wanted to draw back, I locked the front wheel and slipped into him, which was clearly my mistake. From then onwards, the race was done and I just had to drive the car over the finish line. We will now look ahead to Silverstone which is one of our home races."
Ross Brawn: "Nico achieved the current potential of the car today with another very solid, mistake-free drive. We couldn't have realistically expected any more and he scored valuable points. As for Michael, his collision was frustrating because he was running at a very similar level to Nico in the early stages and could also have finished close to him, in the points. After our concerns earlier in the weekend, the tyres behaved well and we didn't experience any serious degradation problems, which represents a step forward for us compared to previous races. However, we set our targets very much higher than racing for seventh place: our work in the next weeks will focus on improving the car's performance in order to race with the teams ahead of us."
Norbert Haug: "Nico's seventh place is what we could realistically have hoped for today, finishing behind the three top teams with our current technical package, which is lacking performance. The team is working very hard to bring the planned updates for our cars in order to close the gap to the current top six runners. Michael had an unfortunate clash early in the race and the additional pit stop this required prevented him from scoring points."
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