Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg qualified in fourth and seventh places respectively at the end of an exciting qualifying hour for the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne. The team is particularly happy with the progress made compared to last year's Melbourne qualifying.
Michael and Nico progressed smoothly through Q1, with Nico completing one run and Michael two on the primes. Their first runs in Q2 were aborted due to a red flag, before the pair finished in P1 and P3, using option tyres. Two option runs in Q3 saw Michael finish in P4, with Nico in P7 after making a small mistake at turn three
Michael Schumacher, #7, F1 W03 / 05, P3:
"The first qualifying session of the year proved to be as tight a competition as we had all hoped for. I am certainly happy with our performance which is a huge step forward, considering where we were in qualifying here last year. I can only thank the guys for all of the hard work that they have achieved over the winter. I also think it is important to stress that Mercedes-Benz have always believed in and supported this project, and I really hope we can deliver the results we all want. We have to take this step-by-step as the competition is very tight, so now we have to continue to work hard."
Nico Rosberg, #8, F1 W03 / 03, P7:
"We are happy to see that we have obviously improved the car over the winter. It seems that we can be strong in the race as well from what we learned during practice this weekend. Unfortunately I didn't get the most out of it today. I didn't quite find the right set-up as we have a lot of new things on the car and it will take a few races to get it working perfectly. I also made a small mistake on my last lap which cost me some time. Seventh place is still a good position though and I will be doing my best to move forward tomorrow."
Ross Brawn "From where we were twelve months ago, I believe we have seen a really good step forward here in Melbourne, and we have a great foundation to build on. We are very pleased with Michael's fourth position today, and he did an excellent job. Nico didn't get such a clean lap at the end, however he will have a very strong race from seventh place. We were able to spend some time running on high fuel this morning, and I am hopeful that will pay off tomorrow in the race."
Norbert Haug "An encouraging result for us and more was possible today with Michael 0.034s behind P3 and Nico 0.035s behind P5. Michael did a good job whilst Nico locked up a wheel going into turn three which cost him lap time and didn't help his left front tyre. The reigning World Champions and clear favourites for this season will be starting behind Michael which shows how surprising Formula One can be. Congratulations to Lewis and McLaren Mercedes for scoring the 32nd pole for Mercedes-Benz in the V8 era in the 109th Grand Prix since 2006. For the race, we should be in a good position and we will try to make the most out of it. A podium has to be our aim."