At the end of a dramatic day of track activity, MERCEDES GP PETRONAS drivers Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg qualified in fifth and eighth places respectively for Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix. The team’s best wishes go to Sergio Perez and Sauber after the Mexican driver suffered a major accident during qualifying this afternoon.
• Following a heavy crash in P3, exceptional work from the team to repair the car enabled Nico to take part in qualifying
• Both drivers qualified in the top ten for the third consecutive race weekend, with Michael starting from P5
• Nico will start from P8 after setting his time in the closing minutes of Q3, after the interruption caused by Perez’s accident
Michael Schumacher: “First of all, I am happy to hear that Sergio seems to be well, which is obviously the most important news. The incident reminded me a lot of what happened to Karl Wendlinger in 1994 and it shows the quality of the safety improvements the FIA have implemented since then, especially the side impact tests. As for my starting position, I benefited a little from the circumstances and probably P7 on the grid would have been more realistic. Having said that, our car looks better in race trim this weekend, so with another good start, I will try to make the most out of it. Overtaking is known to be more difficult here than at most other circuits, so it will come down to having the right strategy, especially because the tyres should last longer than in recent races and we can expect fewer stops. I think it will be an exciting race.”
Nico Rosberg: “I have to say a special thank you to the team and the attitude everybody had today after my accident. This morning, I made a little mistake and lost control of the car but nobody was angry about that when I came back to the garage: the guys simply came up to me and said, let’s go for it in qualifying! The circumstances in Q3 were a bit tricky because the red flag came at the worst moment for me. When we went back out, it was not possible to do a fast lap because the tyres weren’t working properly, but I am still happy to have made it to Q3 after such a tough day. I also want to send my best wishes to Sergio and we are all pleased to hear that he is ok after such a big accident.”
Ross Brawn: “We have achieved a reasonable result with all things taken into account today. The crash that Nico had this morning took a huge amount of effort from the boys to repair and I must pay tribute to the team for the fantastic job to get his car ready for qualifying. Nico’s programme understandably didn’t run very smoothly in qualifying and he suffered with the timing of the red flag. Michael had a much smoother day and did a good job of putting the car in fifth place which is an excellent result. I think we can look forward to a reasonable race tomorrow. We were all horrified to see the severity of Sergio Perez’s accident, particularly as it was so similar in nature to Nico’s crash this morning. It is a credit to the FIA and all of the teams that such progress has been made in terms of safety. It’s one of those moments that really help us realise what a challenging sport this can be and how important it is to keeping improving our safety standards. We are all really pleased that Sergio seems to be ok.”
Norbert Haug: “The most important result from today is that Sergio Perez is ok after his crash and we wish him a speedy recovery. Our entire team did a fantastic job to put Nico’s car back together in less than two hours after his crash in the morning session. It was not a foregone conclusion that he would be able to compete in qualifying, but our great guys managed it. Michael did a good job to put his car in fifth position on the third row. Nico did not set a competitive time on new tyres before the interruption to Q3; after the restart, the track conditions had changed and he was lacking grip. We hope for a good race tomorrow after our cars showed respectable speed in all the sessions.”