Schumacher admitted afterwards that keeping fresh sets of tyres for the race was therefore imperative.
"I am reasonably pleased with our qualifying result, considering what we have seen this weekend," said the German, who has struggled with brake issues. "Of course, we could have tried to make up one or two positions, although this would have been very difficult.
"However we decided to give up this possibility in favour of the fact that we now have a fresh set and free choice of tyres going into the race.
"We decided this strategy after the final practice session, and after seeing who made it into Q3, we went for it. Hopefully we can make the best of this choice tomorrow."
Team principal Ross Brawn added: "We've made good progress over the weekend with our new aerodynamic package which is encouraging.
"This weekend has been the first opportunity for Michael and Nico to try the upgrades, and it has taken a little while to get the set-up into a reasonable shape.
"Given the closeness of the second part of the grid, we made a strategic decision not to go out for a lap in Q3, and we're happy to have the choice of tyres and new sets for the race tomorrow."
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