Schumacher voices ‘question mark’ over race pace
14 April 2012 – Michael Schumacher admits that Mercedes may not be capable of retaining its front-running pace, despite starting off the front row in China on Sunday. In an historic first for the company since returning to Formula 1 as a works manufacturer in 2010, Nico Rosberg led the seven-time World Championship in Shanghai qualifying.
“I didn’t think we would be fighting for pole position,” Schumacher, whose last F1 win came in China with Ferrari six years ago, said in the post-qualifying press conference. “Seeing what Nico was able to do was a big surprise for us all; that was a phenomenal lap time and I’m happy for him to take his first pole.”
Having jokingly labelled Rosberg’s effort as ‘not bad’ over a team radio communication during the session, Schumacher went on to discuss the race:
“The question mark is over whether we can keep his position. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. The question will be about high fuel and tyre degradation.”
Schumacher added that he ‘hopes to get to the end’, having run third in Melbourne before suffering a gearbox problem. Last time out at Sepang, he took the chequered flag in tenth place after being hit by Lotus’ Romain Grosjean on the opening lap.