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F1 NEWS 

Mercedes: Race pace just too slow

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Sepang 2011Mercedes drivers Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg felt their car simply lacked the race pace to do any better than their ninth and 12th positions in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Although the team's practice form had raised hopes that it might get back to the encouraging level of performance it showed in the final winter tests, Rosberg and Schumacher had disappointing qualifying runs to ninth and 11th, and fared no better today.

"I had a straightforward race today which was even a bit exciting towards the end but really full of ups and downs before," said Schumacher.

"The start was quite good and then it was mainly about managing the tyres. We probably couldn't have expected to take more than two points today and we certainly have to work on our race pace which is not yet where we want it to be. We are all aware of that and we are more than ready to keep working hard to make the necessary steps forward.

"Over one lap, we can already be at a good level when the car is working well, but we need to continue to work on our race performance."

Rosberg's grand prix was a similar story as he was unable to recover from a bad start.

"It was not my race today and it's been a tough weekend," he said. "I had a poor start and lost positions which made it very difficult to try and get into the points.

"Our race pace was not good enough, and it was very difficult to push, so unfortunately we could not perform at the level that we wanted to here."

Team boss Ross Brawn explained that Mercedes had hoped it might manage to salvage something from the race by going for longer stints in the hope of capitalising on any rain that arrived, but with the race remaining dry throughout, this did not pay off.

"We had a couple of stints which proved to be a little too long, as we stayed out to see if the weather might bring an opportunity," he said.

"That was our decision, and when it didn't rain as had been predicted, we paid the price with the loss of perhaps a position or two."

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