Mercedes: Three-stopper costs Rosberg a place

2011 German GP team review

Mercedes ran a new rear wing but both drivers were lapped on the way to seventh and eighth.

However they increased their lead over closest championship rivals Renault.

Michael Schumacher Nico Rosberg
Qualifying position 10 6
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’32.482 (+1.219) 1’31.263
Race position 8 7
Laps 59/60 59/60
Pit stops 3 3

Mercedes drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/2011drivercolours.csv
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60
Michael Schumacher 107.153 100.914 99.375 99.503 99.664 99.125 99.976 98.953 99.468 99.665 99.301 99.733 99.661 99.602 102.283 115.609 99.584 97.581 97.919 97.758 98.344 100.03 113.259 99.088 97.909 98.126 98.144 98.252 97.879 98.098 98.63 98.016 97.781 98.016 98.4 98.63 100.786 114.152 96.913 98.005 97.124 96.45 96.21 96.404 98.01 96.401 95.647 96.161 95.628 95.699 95.652 96.724 96.26 96.352 96.5 99.016 114.552 98.224 97.688
Nico Rosberg 104.863 100.235 99.472 99.178 99.565 99.068 99.338 98.754 99.296 99.754 100.16 100.91 99.57 101.926 116.39 99.65 98.437 98.193 98.292 98.496 98.291 100.855 97.947 97.829 98.036 98.328 98.082 97.65 97.669 97.973 97.822 97.563 97.701 98.498 99.651 100.647 115.844 98.112 98.459 96.586 96.727 96.355 96.185 96.881 96.576 96.73 97.127 96.612 96.68 96.397 96.181 96.236 99.203 115.234 96.644 96.571 96.643 98.691 99.29

Michael Schumacher

Schumacher had trouble keeping the car on the track in practice, waving to the crowd during one off-track excursion at the Dunlop hairpin.

Although he made it into Q3 he was routed by Rosberg, who lapped 1.2 seconds faster and out-qualified him for the ninth time out of ten.

He bounced back in the race, gaining a place from Jenson Button at the start, then passing Vitaly Petrov as lap two began.

On lap 22 he took advantage of Rosberg being held up behind Petrov to launch an attack on his team mate at the chicane.

But on the next lap he spun at the RTL Kurve, falling back behind Petrov and Jaime Alguersuari. Fortunately for him, they both pitted at the end of the lap.

Having fallen 16 seconds behind Rosberg he gained on his team mate by six seconds over the rest of the race, crossing the line behind him in eighth place.

Michael Schumacher 2011 form guide

Felipe Massa, Nico Rosberg, Nurburgring, 2011

Felipe Massa, Nico Rosberg, Nurburgring, 2011

Nico Rosberg

Rosberg moved up to fifth at the start and spent the opening portion of the race defending his place from Felipe Massa.

Massa eventually demoted him on lap 12, and Rosberg made his first pit stop two laps later.

After picking his way past Petrov and fending off an attack from his team mate, Rosberg made his second stop and came out behind Kamui Kobayashi. After a couple of laps probing the Sauber’s defences, he got by on the inside of turn one.

But the battle cost him some time which proved costly in his battle with Adrian Sutil.

Running a three-stop strategy, Rosberg’s pace in his final soft-tyre stint wasn’t enough to get him out of the pits in front of the two-stopping Force India, dropping him to seventh.

Nico Rosberg 2011 form guide

2011 German Grand Prix

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43 comments on Mercedes: Three-stopper costs Rosberg a place

  1. Gill said on 25th July 2011, 14:25

    If there is any 1 team which has disappointed me the most is Mercedes. They just dont seem to have a fast car. Its crap. Its just fast on straights. They should sack Michael and hire kubica, Hulk or any other better driver

    • Robbie said on 25th July 2011, 14:47

      As no MS fan I’d love to jump on that comment and run with it, however, I think at this point it is painfully obvious that another driver wouldn’t be doing much better…they’re being lapped in some races…when you have two drivers that you can throw a blanket over, at least in terms of race pace, that tells me they are getting the max they can out of the car…for whatever reason MS is being badly outqualified by NR, but other than that MS usually gets the nod on starts, at least matches NR’s race pace, but is managing to have a mistake a race that either costs him time or a wing and track position. Makes me wonder if MS’s race pace is only there because he is overdriving it in order to try to match or beat NR. Pace only works if you keep it between the ditches or off someone’s back end.

      I would sack the car builder before I would sack either driver, unless they think this guy’s first car can be evolved into something for next year. And I’m sure they do. And that will be with NR and MS giving their input, and MS’s experience in that realm can’t be denied.

      MS’s problem is that time may run out before that car evolves into something, provided the top 3 teams remain as hard to reach as they have traditionally been.

      Anyway, there’s no way they are going to dump MS.

    • Er, so even though the car is ‘crap’, your solution is to sack the drivers? Not sure about that one.

      Better hope Merc are concentrating on development for 2012. Otherwise it could be a short stay in F1: as we’ve seen before, no works team can afford to run in the midfield for long as it’s bad for the business image.

      • Alonso Fan said on 26th July 2011, 4:55

        lol, Agree. If the car is crap then sack the driver?? only 3 or 4 teams in F1 have a driver. :)

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 28th July 2011, 13:38

      Eh…that doesn’t make sense. You’re saying the car is ‘crap’ so how is it then fair to say they should sack Schumacher?

  2. BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th July 2011, 14:34

    What to say, they have 2 very solid drivers, both probably capable of more. And they are still 4th team, but where are the dreams of something more gone?

    • Robbie said on 25th July 2011, 14:54

      I think the dreams are there, but without in-season testing unless you have nailed your package from the get-go any hopes of big leaps in performance need to be shelved in favour of hoping for small improvements often. And if the team’s ahead of you are doing the same thing?…

      No wonder I heard it said many years ago now that Adrian Newey is bigger on whatever team is on than MS was at Ferrari…

    • bosyber said on 26th July 2011, 20:23

      Well said.

      I think by now Schumacher is a good driver to have, but he isn’t able to do the job in qualifying, otherwise he might in the race potentially be able to get himself in a clear gap behind Massa and ahead of the rest, with Rosberg in the neighbourhood.

      But the car isn’t able to do more for them, so they have to fight hard for it at the start, not helping their tyres.

      While Renault seems to be falling behind a bit, FI, Sauber and STR all have been a regular contestant to take the race to Mercedes and take points from them, beating them with better tyre management and sometimes even comparable pace.

      They need to find their dreams and get some guts into the car and their strategy.

  3. DaveW said on 25th July 2011, 14:57

    I remember when Schmacher used to crow, after he made a mistake, that he only makes one mistake a year. It used to be true, more or less. Now it’s once per race, or one per stint.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 25th July 2011, 15:16

      Would have to agree. Definitely the most error prone driver on the grid.

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 25th July 2011, 15:30

        True but now he has to treat races as testing sessions for both him and the car to improve.

        • Jim said on 25th July 2011, 16:02

          Hmm, not sure about that. The real problem for MS is qualifying. Part of the reason he’s continually in scrapes is because he’s fighting all the time – and that’s due to weaker qualifying that starts him off further back and makes him more likely to puch. Errors are cumulative: you make a mistake and drop back, so then you push harder and it’s more likely you’ll make another mistake. It’s easy to look serene and machine-like when you’re leading from the front in superior technology – a la Vettel.

          What we are seeing from MS is not the disappearance of his talent. An inferior car leads to poor qualification, which in turn leads MS to push like crazy, over-drive the car and have accidents. What’s the alternative – coast round, and not even try?

          And before anyone says that NR is wiping the floor with him – it isn’t really true and is disguised by the qualification thing. For some reason, NR has the edge in quali – it would be interesting to know why. But MS’s starts, race pace, and risk-taking instincts are all there, and even wih NR’s better quali and fewer accidents, he isn’t that far ahead. I hope Mercedes get things on track next year.

          • Patrickl said on 25th July 2011, 17:04

            Rosberg hasn’t had the best of seasons till now, but still he has about 1.5 times the points of Schumacher. That’s quite a lot.

          • Jim said on 25th July 2011, 17:35

            @ Patrikl

            MS is, what, 16 points behind NR? All the while he a catch up in a single race result, I wouldn’t describe it as ‘a lot’. Vettel’s lead? Now that’s ‘a lot’.

            Both MS and NR are having mediocre seasons. With MS, the highs are higher and the lows are lower, because he’s a risk taker. NR is a steady ship, sure – but he’s not running away with the lead either.

          • airtone said on 25th July 2011, 19:51

            @Jim
            I couldn’t agree more. As a MS fan I have been disappointed (so far) by his comeback and the fact that he’s outqualified by NR doesn’t help and results in him pushing hard and making mistakes.
            Yet, he collected the best result of the team this year in very tricky conditions in Canada, and had it not been for a clumsy DRS zone decision and a drying track, he might even have challenged Vettel for the win. Still, he got that result in a crap car.
            I guess the picture would be different if he could fix his qualifying issue. I remember Alonso in Renault: he got solid points but could not shine in that dog of a car, and yet he is regarded as the greatest driver on the grid right now. I don’t think anyone thought he was finished.
            Anyway, he’s great to watch.

          • airtone said on 25th July 2011, 19:54

            Erratum: I meant when Alonso was in Renault after his McLaren journey. By ‘he’ in the last sentence I meant Schumacher.
            Poor proofreading skills ;-)

          • Lee Harrison said on 26th July 2011, 0:53

            To be fair, quite a few times this season the qualy margin has only been a couple fo hundredths, so it’s hardly as if Rosberg is battering Schumacher in every qualifying session.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 25th July 2011, 17:11

      Nontheless he had a good race after the spin (an error which caught out also Vettel).

      • airtone said on 25th July 2011, 19:57

        And outpaced NR in the race:
        best lap: 1:35.628 (to 1:36.181 for NR).

        • Robbie said on 26th July 2011, 1:44

          Ok but the other side of the coin is that with a car capable of only so many points vs the competition ahead of them, NR continues to get the lion’s share of them…to say look at Vettel’s lead, now that’s a lead is easy to say when it is in a car capable of the maximum points at all times…for NR to have ‘only’ 16 points on MS makes it sound like a small number, but in this year’s Mercedes that is not just one race away from evening up…that is several races away, in that car…and MS keeps squandering the few points here and there that the car is capable of…I throw out Canada’s performance because it was obviously due to the changeable weather conditions and the number of safety cars and red flags. Just look at MS’s performances before Canada and since…doesn’t exactly confirm that what he did in Canada was anything consistant…it was an anomoly.

          • DVC said on 26th July 2011, 3:37

            After Canada they were equal on points, we’ve had 3 races since. In two of them Rosberg scored and Schumacher didn’t. Once because of a penalty I don’t think he deserved (even thought the accident was his fault), but that’s beside the point.

            The point is, the gap between them in points terms is really only 2 races, not several.

            Also, Schumacher also has Mercedes only mechanical DNF for the year, at Monaco.

            When you take that into account that’s only one race result between them, which is perfectly acceptable.

    • Aussie Fan said on 26th July 2011, 6:33

      He used to always make mistakes, i’ve never heard him say that???? Where is this quote????

      I remember watching him always bin one car in quali, only to go & nearly bin the spare but set a blitzing lap after having found the limit…It was a Schumacer trait to write off a car in practice & then win the race, what are you smoking buddy?

      A much more believable story is that with less time in the car each weekend than in years gone by, no testing & no spare car, his mistakes now happen in his race car & in quali or the actual race, rather than practice or early quali where he KNEW he had a spare car to jump into.

      • Robbie said on 26th July 2011, 17:36

        DVC…can’t quite wrap my head around how you figure MS in only one race result away from NR…

        They are 14 points apart (not 16 as we were using in the previous posts)…so if you are saying NR is about to dnf the next race and MS get 3rd, then ok MS is one result away…

        But realistically, who is thinking that will happen? NR is besting MS and is best of the rest but that generally on average relegates him to 7th place as the best Merc can expect historically this year, barring issues with the top 6 cars on the top 3 teams.

        The way I see it, in 10 races so far NR has averaged 4.6 points per race to MS’s 3.2…barring any miracles MS is several races away from NR in points at the rate they are going. It would take for NR to start averaging fewer points per race than MS, which isn’t the case at this point, so not only would MS have to start outracing NR and actually converting that to finishing ahead of NR, MS will also need some help from NR in seeing him run less well than he has been.

        To me, if the car was win-capable then one could argue MS is a race away from NR in the points. But as it is going, MS is going to need several races to catch NR, if at all, and if NR starts to stumble.

        • DVC said on 26th July 2011, 23:24

          I said effectively 1 race apart, taking into account that the car has let MS down once more than Rosberg. Otherwise 2 races apart.

  4. Eggry (@eggry) said on 25th July 2011, 19:21

    What can I say? They just need better car.

    • Robbie said on 26th July 2011, 1:49

      That really is the bottom line…a driver is coloured by his car…be in the top car, you look like a star, unless you squander it…be in a dog and there’s only so much you can do…statistically, almost always the WDC driver had the WCC car in order to win the WDC…yes I know sometimes a driver is responsible for taking the car into the WCC zone, but only a little, and it really takes pretty much the best car or a very very strong second place car in the WCC to win the WDC…

      • DVC said on 26th July 2011, 5:37

        Only a little?

        Have you considered that when the points system was 10, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1; a win was as good as 2nd and 3rd combined? That makes it pretty tough to win the constructor’s without winning the driver’s!

        • Robbie said on 26th July 2011, 14:58

          True…what I was trying so say, perhaps badly worded, is that a car that by rights is really only a weak second place WCC car, distant in points from the dominant team, can only be affected so much by good driving and therefore is not likely to be raised by said good driving into the WCC winning position. And even a strong second place WCC car is usually not enough to win the WDC in. Depends on what both drivers in the leading or second place WCC cars do throughout the season too.

  5. DVC said on 26th July 2011, 0:34

    Once again another abysmal strategy call by Mercedes for Schumacher. If instead of bringing him in 3 laps from the end, they’d brought him in on the last lap he wouldn’t have been lapped by the leaders until that pit stop, would have gotten an extra lap, and beaten Rosberg.

    (Yes, I posted this elsewhere, but it is more appropriate here). And for people calling hindsight, I saw this unfolding with 3 laps to go, and was shocked when they brought him in then. “Idiots.” was all I could think, they have timing monitors and software programs to predict pace, etc. why couldn’t they see what I did just from looking at the TV?

    • DMC said on 26th July 2011, 17:43

      I still think schuey is driving progressivley faster all the time, and i think he is going to show good form in this half of the season.

    • GameR_K (@gamer_k) said on 27th July 2011, 8:07

      You don’t race team mates on the last lap, simple

      • DVC said on 27th July 2011, 9:52

        He wouldn’t have been racing him though, because his last lap would have been different to Rosberg’s. Also, by not doing that they denied themselves a chance to take advantage if Sutil hit trouble on the last lap.

  6. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 26th July 2011, 2:31

    Nico as always had that silent race.If Schumi haven’t spun he could have had finished ahead of Sutil.Such a shame that he had good race pace but then make a silly mistake that a 7 tiime WC shouldn’t make from his experience.

    • Aussie Fan said on 26th July 2011, 10:11

      What about a 1 time WC making the same mistake in a car with vastly more grip??

      Plus you could reverse argue the age thing that people always bring up about ms, i.e that its no surprise he did that as an old guy in a dog of a car when the current WDC did it as a young guy (with supposedly sharper reactions) in a car with vastly more grip & performance.

      Get off the Criticise MS Bandwagon, he’s out raced ROS in the last 4 races but for retirements or lost front wings. The speed has been there massively, ROS has been actually getting outpaced quite badly the last few races, its just the incidents that hide it well.

      I’d rather have a driver pushing like crazy in a bad car & showing me where it is bad than a driver cruising in a bad car & saying “but 6th was the best I could do” whilst he drove at 95% the whole race to guarantee not crashing said dog car.

      Points only tell 1/2 the story this season, it seems…

      • Robbie said on 26th July 2011, 15:34

        Personally I have no issue with MS’s age…I figure nobody put a gun to his head to come back…nobody stopped his return due to age, and even Brawn had him as 2010 WDC before we even saw MS turn a wheel upon his return, that’s how little Brawn was concerned about MS’s age. Everyone thought is was great to see him back and that he would be on form in no time, so to me age is not the issue.

        And I think you are doing a huge disservice to NR by claiming he is cruising. Especially when we know this car is not a race-winner and we know MS has struggled with it…last year being front end grip that he lacked, this year it’s whatever…

        You say MS has out raced NR in the last four races but for retirements and lost front wings…to me that is not outracing someone…that is under racing someone…what good is pace if you can’t keep it between the ditches or off someone else’s back end?…to finish first (or in this case as high up as possible) you must first finish. It’s not all about pace…it’s how you use it.

        I do appreciate that you would rather have your drivers pushing like crazy than cruising, but I think you are making a huge assumption that just because NR isn’t breaking wings or going off the track as much, that means he is just going along for the ride…I think that in fact it is NR that has a better handle on the car and therefore appears much neater and tidier and consistant, and it is MS that is simply outdriving it and driving himself out of the points out of desperation…I’m not even saying I necesarily blame MS for doing it, but I don’t think it means NR is dogging it…I think that is an insult to him, especially as he sits best of the rest in points, ahead of MS, and behind only the top 6 cars from the top 3 teams. ie. you may not like it but it seems to work for him so I doubt he would take your advice and start driving into other cars.

        And hey maybe there are actually times when NR is going 95%…drivers do it all the time especially with the current regs to conserve tires because that is the prudent thing to do at the time in order that they finish the race…or if there are 5 laps to go and NR is 20 seconds behind the guy in front and the next points paying guy is 15 seconds behind ie. that is likely going to be the way they cross the start/finish line, then why wouldn’t you back off for reliability’s sake to ensure you finish and preserve the engine and tranny for the next race(s)? Is it only ok for SV to do that once he has driven his way to a big lead and needn’t risk anything for the win?

        Points may only tell half the story, but I don’t buy your interpretation of the story.

        • Robbie said on 26th July 2011, 16:37

          Just wanted to add the obvious, that MS is the one badly outpaced by NR in quali, far more often than MS is outpacing him in the recent races, and so coupling that with the fact that a steady conservative NR sits ahead of MS in the points as best of the rest means that ignoring those facts in view of a hard charging MS in recent races that have seen him ragged, is folly. ie. NR is obviously not cruising in quali…why would he on race day?

  7. DVC said on 26th July 2011, 3:17

    Once again another abysmal strategy call by Mercedes for Schumacher. If instead of bringing him in 3 laps from the end, they’d brought him in on the last lap he wouldn’t have been lapped by the leaders until that pit stop, would have gotten an extra lap, and beaten Rosberg.

    (Yes, I posted this elsewhere, but it is more appropriate here). And for people calling hindsight, I saw this unfolding with 3 laps to go, and was shocked when they brought him in then. “Why?” was all I could think, they have timing monitors and software programs to predict pace, etc. why couldn’t they see what I did just from looking at the TV?

  8. daykind said on 26th July 2011, 19:23

    Such a shame that Schuey spun. He was flying. Could have been at the serious end of points if it wasn;t for the error.

  9. SimonSays said on 26th July 2011, 21:59

    I think this result clearly proves what’s going wrong at Mercedes.

    Schumacher is beyond all doubt a no-hope driver who can barely turn a corner without crashing out or hitting someone. One of the sport’s biggest injustices is that he fluked his way to 7 WDCs and 93 wins despite his lack of talent, but now the best thing to do is to cart him of to an old people’s home, where he can crash mobility scooters in suprmarkets all day.

    Rosberg, on the other hand, is absolutely hammering the old man: finishing 30 seconds ahead in quali, while Schumacher embarrasses himself going the wrong way and driving into the stands. But the Rozzster’s being cruelly held back by his teamate’s legacy – Nico’s at a level beyond winning, which is why he never bothers with it. He needs to be free of Schumacher’s and Ross Brawn’s obsession with winning.

    Mercedes need to ditch the baggage, hire Luca Badoer, at let Rosberg lead the team to the height of motorsport achievement: i.e. trundling round anonymously and finishing 7th.

  10. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 28th July 2011, 13:40

    Good opening battle between Massa and Rosberg, nice to hear Smedley giving Massa a bit of encouragement.

    Not a bad race result for them.

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