A strong weekend in Melbourne came to a disappointing end for the Mercedes AMG today with Nico Rosberg finishing the Australian Grand Prix in 12th place and team-mate Michael Schumacher retiring early on in the race with a gearbox problem.
Both drivers had excellent starts with Michael making up one place to third, and Nico moving from seventh to fourth.
Nico ran a two-stop race with an option/option/prime tyre strategy, stopping on laps 12 and 31. He would have finished in the points before a clash with Perez on the last lap dropped him to back to 12th place
Nico Rosberg, F1 W03 / 03, P12:
"I had a perfect start today and was able to gain three positions, however unfortunately we weren't able to maintain that pace, and the race did not turn out as we had hoped. The end was particularly unfortunate with Perez when we touched on the straight, causing a puncture which took away a points scoring finish. We have a lot of work to do to understand what went wrong, and how we can use the full potential which our car definitely shows. I'm still positive as Malaysia is a completely different track so I'm looking ahead to next weekend now."
Michael Schumacher, F1 W03 / 05, DNF:
"It was an unfortunate end to my race when I lost drive going into turn one on lap 11. I was trying different gears and occasionally the drive came back, but in the end, I had to go onto the grass to avoid the risk of the car being forced into a spin. It was especially unfortunate as we have not had this problem during the winter tests and were very reliable. 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."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal:
"After a very encouraging weekend, today was not a good result for us. 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. So we need to look at what happened today, unravel the problem and work out where we need to improve."
"Michael was defending third place when his gearbox had a problem which caused his retirement. Nico did not have the necessary speed due to problems in the tyre usage, the reason for which we are currently investigating. The collision on the last lap cost Nico points but more concerning for us today is that we could not use the tyres as we did during testing and earlier this weekend. The team will work hard to understand the problem and to be in better shape next week in Malaysia."
Temperatures: Air: 21-22°C / Track: 21-29°C