Schumacher quietly optimistic after practice
16 March 2012 – Michael Schumacher topped the timesheets in Australia on Friday, signalling a promising start to Mercedes’ 2012 Formula 1 season. This year, the Brackley squad has developed a system which allows extra amounts of air to enter the rear wing through side entry slots, which will work when the main plane is open with DRS.
“Today was a nice start into a hopefully exciting season and certainly two promising sessions for us,” said Schumacher, whose last Albert Park win came for Ferrari eight years ago. “However, I would not go so far as to speak about being confident, as the weather conditions were too mixed to gain a clear picture.
“We know what Friday sessions are for and don't know what fuel loads others were running. On the other hand, it is good to see that we were competitive in different circumstances today and that the car provides good handling - I just feel it.”
Team-mate Nico Rosberg, whose day ended in ninth place and just ahead of World Champion Sebastian Vettel, shares Schumacher’s hopefulness.
“I'm pleased with the start to our weekend in these mixed conditions,” reported Rosberg, who scored his first F1 podium finish in Melbourne, with Williams in 2008. “We learned a lot for the race here over the two sessions, so it was a very productive day. I feel very comfortable in the car, which is the most important thing for me today.”