Indian GP: Nico Rosberg hopeful over strategy gamble
|By Simon Strang||Saturday, October 27th 2012, 11:17 GMT|
Mercedes' decision not to run Nico Rosberg in Q3 qualifying for the Indian Grand Prix will open up strategic options for the German in tomorrow's race.
Rosberg will start 10th for the 60-lap grand prix, which is expected to hard on tyre wear, with some teams contemplating just one stop.
And the Chinese Grand Prix winner hopes that by not setting a time in Q3, and therefore allowing him to start with a new set of tyres in Sunday's race, it will give him an advantage over the cars higher up the grid.
"In terms of our strategy for the race, it was better for us not to run in Q3 as it should give us a better pace tomorrow with fresh tyres," Rosberg said. "Of course it's not a nice feeling to be waiting in the pits and watching the others out there however.
"It seems that the race will be tough on the tyres with very long stints, so I should have an advantage compared to the cars in front of me. I'll be able to tell you tomorrow if it was the right decision but I'm reasonably happy today as we looked like we have made a small improvement here."
Team principal Ross Brawn was convinced that the team had opted for the correct strategy rather than trying to compete for a lower position in the top ten.
"That was a qualifying session in which we had to balance the temptation to run to our ultimate pace and the realistic consideration of what the race will bring," said Brawn. "After Q2, it was clear that seventh place was the maximum we could achieve with Nico, and his pace had been strongest on used tyres.
"However, we preferred not to go into the race on a set of used soft tyres which had already completed up to ten laps, as this would limit our strategic options. With a view to tomorrow, we therefore decided not to run in Q3 which will give us the choice of a fresh set of either tyre for our opening stint."
Michael Schumacher was mystified as to why he was unable to match Rosberg's pace in qualifying, dropping out in Q2 and lining up only 14th on the grid.
"I cannot yet really explain why, particularly when I compare the times to what I did this morning," he said. "In practice, we were able to run similar lap times with much more fuel in the car but, for whatever reason, we were unable to get the tyres into the right working window and generate enough grip this afternoon."