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GP Week : Issue 176
MERCEDES EATS ITS TYRES 32 GPWEEK.com // 32 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: It was an absolutely miserable day for Mercedes in Austin on Sunday, with a P13 finish for Nico Rosberg and a P16 finish for Michael Schumacher, who started the United States Grand Prix in P5. “I can’t find any words other than ironic ones for the race today – there was a lot of action around me but unfortunately in the wrong direction,” Schumacher said after the race. “To say that the race was a real struggle would be an understatement. I couldn’t get any grip from my first set of tyres, and there must have been some kind of damage for them to perform so badly. We had to change our strategy to two stops which then compromised our race even further. All in all, it was much worse than expected today, especially considering that things did not look that bad yesterday and Friday.” While Rosberg’s struggles started with a poor qualifying result on Saturday afternoon, Schumacher had no such excuse. And what was bewildering to the watching crowds was the way in which the Mercedes simultaneously suffered from two seemingly contradictory problems: the inability to get enough heat into the tyres and excessive wear on their rubber. “After a good qualifying result, Michael's first set of tyres performed very badly today and we decided to convert his strategy to a two-stop race,” team principal Ross Brawn admitted. “Once we got onto another set, the lap times came back up to what we expected but having such a poor first stint made it very difficult for him. “Nico started a long way back and conserved his tyres well as we knew that we wanted to make a one-stop strategy work. He actually had a pretty good race with respectable lap times, and if we had managed to qualify better, he would have been in a reasonable place. Whilst it is disappointing not to score any points, we have learnt a lot about the car and tyres this weekend which will be useful for the future.” F1 >>> UNITED STATES