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2014 F1

Mercedes: Another qualifying afternoon of mixed feelings for the team

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Formula 1 championship leader Nico Rosberg put Mercedes on pole for his home German Grand Prix on Saturday following a brake failure abandoned title rival and team mate Lewis Hamilton out of qualifying.

Nico Rosberg (1st, Q3 – 1:16.540)
“That was a quite challenging Qualifying session. The option tyre lasts only for one quick lap and without FRIC we had a lot do adjust the set-up. I had a difficult start because I didn’t really feel comfortable with the balance in the braking zones but that gradually improved through the sessions. The quickest lap at the end was really a good one. So I’m really happy to start from the top position here at our home Grand Prix. But I can’t be too pleased about today because of the accident Lewis suffered, I’m glad he is fine. I would have preferred to have the normal fight for the pole with him. But I’m sure he will fly through the field as our car is still the quickest out there. So our German fans will see an exciting race tomorrow.”

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Lewis Hamilton (16th, Q1 – 1:18.683)
“The car was feeling great today. I braked in the same place as I have been doing and I suddenly lost brake pressure – it took me by surprise and the failure spun the car into the wall. It wasn’t a great feeling when that happened, you just have to take your hands off the wheel and brace for the impact, but thankfully I’m okay. My legs are a little bruised but I will be fine to race tomorrow; nothing is going to stop me getting in that car. I’m devastated for the guys because they worked so hard during the evening and late last night – I even got an email from my engineers at 01:00 and we were making changes to the set-up to get it just right, which paid off because the balance felt fantastic out there. Then we didn’t even get to do five laps. I’m not sure where we’ll start tomorrow in the race because that will depend on the damage to the car. But we’ll give it everything, hope for a slice of luck and aim for a recovery like I made at Silverstone. It’s definitely going to be a tough afternoon but I won’t be giving up.”

Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
“It was like night and day today. First of all, we’re all happy that Lewis is okay as it was quite a shunt. It’s just not acceptable to have a brake disc fail in that way after we fitted a new set this morning and we have to find out what we do about it. We will assess the car and see what the damage is in the end. We are very pleased with Nico being on pole. He did a very good job in difficult conditions because of the unexpected heat in combination with the supersoft tyre which made it very tricky for everyone. Congratulations to Williams on P2 and P3 – they were pushing us very hard today.”

Paddy Lowe, Mercedes team executive director (technical)
“It is another Saturday afternoon of mixed feelings for the team. First and foremost, we are very happy that Lewis emerged unhurt from his accident in Q1 – although he is sore, he will be able to drive tomorrow. And then, of course, there was great satisfaction to see Nico take his fifth pole position of the year. He initially struggled to get a time on the board in Q1 – indeed, we have seen that many drivers have struggled to put a complete lap together this weekend. After that point, though, he drove three fast and clean laps in Q2 and Q3 to take pole position. But as we saw in Austria, too, he was under some pressure from the Williams who are both running very well this weekend. It was a different story for Lewis, who suffered a right front brake disc failure. This was a new set of brakes fitted for third practice, in line with our normal procedures, and a catastrophic failure occurred without warning while he was braking for Turn 13. This is not a particularly hard braking event, and the brakes were operating normally until that point, so this will clearly require detailed investigation. We will be working hard this evening to rebuild the car so Lewis can fight back strongly tomorrow afternoon.”

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