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Although he is pleased with Mercedes’ progress between the 2011 and 2012 F1 seasons, Friday pace-setter Michael Schumacher admits that more needs to come from the Brackley-based team. The seven-time World Champion has topped the practice timesheets in China, scene of his last race victory five and a half years ago.
“It was a trouble-free day and I am quite happy with how our car is handling so far here,” he began. “The balance of the car was reasonably good and obviously a balanced car contributes a lot to lap time.
“As a team, we are a lot stronger in certain areas this season and we have a much better base to work from, although we are not quite where we want to be with this car yet - but I am confident we will get there. We will now have to look deeper into the data in order to find out where we really are here, but I am looking forward to tomorrow's qualifying.”
Nico Rosberg is yet to out-qualify Schumacher so far this season.
“It's important for us at the moment that we try a lot of different evaluations during practice to improve our race pace,” explained the younger German, having finished practice in fifth position. “So I think it was a decent start to the race weekend today, as we learned quite a few interesting things.
“The conditions were so changeable that it was difficult to take the right decisions in terms of setup work and we struggled a little with the front tyres; that may have been caused by the cold temperatures today and can change very quickly between now and the race, so I am not too concerned.”
As Rosberg is yet to score in 2012 and Schumacher’s best result is tenth last time out in Malaysia, the silver arrows possess just a single point after the opening two races.
Mercedes Grand Prix
|3.||S. Vettel||Red Bull||01:36.160||27|
|4.||M. Webber||Red Bull||01:36.433||24|
|8.||P. di Resta||Force India||01:36.966||31|
|9.||N. Hulkenberg||Force India||01:37.191||31|
|Mercedes Grand Prix|
|23 May||Hamilton satisfied with long run pace|
|23 May||Rosberg stays fastest in second practice|
|23 May||Rosberg tops opening Monte-Carlo practice|
|2012 Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix|
|21 Apr '12||Video of the Day: Ecclestone's opinion last weekend|
|18 Apr '12||Toro Rosso used China as extended test|
|17 Apr '12||Williams ‘invigorated’ by double points result|
|21 May||Video: Schumacher, Rosberg at Nordschleife|
|20 May||Photos: Schumacher drives the Nordschleife|
|25 Apr||Schumacher gets F1 run at Nordschleife|
|23 May||Too early to think about pole, says Rosberg|
|23 May||Video: Rosberg, Hamilton in Mercedes advert|
|18 May||Rosberg hopes to capitalise on one-lap pace|
|24 May||Caterham to retain Renault engines in 2014|
|24 May||Räikkönen modifies Monaco helmet design|
|24 May||Video: Sauber drivers preview Monaco GP|