Mercedes boss Ross Brawn said the desire to save tires for German Grand Prix Q3 led to Nico Rosberg’s accidental Q2 eliminination.
Rosberg had been one of the favorites for Nurburgring pole position, but his Saturday afternoon was wrecked when he was dumped out of Q2 as a number of his rivals found time on the rapidly improving track while he was sat in the pits.
Brawn did not hide from the fact that it was a mistake to not send Rosberg out again, but said the team was focused at the time on maximizing its chances for the final shootout.
“We were very keen to keep two sets of options for final qualifying, Q3, so we only wanted to use one set in Q2,” explained Brawn. “We thought the time was good enough, because you saw it was right at the end and we got caught out by the fact that the track got a lot quicker at the end of Q2.
“The wind dropped and the track seemed to pick up grip, so the cars were going quite a lot quicker. By then, we had no time to react. So we were just biting our nails and were one place out. In the end it was a misjudgement but with the objective of keeping two fresh sets for Q3.”
ROSBERG: A REALLY HORRIBLE DAY
Speaking about his own experience, Rosberg said: “It is tough. It is those days in sport that are really horrible.
“It is really, really difficult to digest that one. But in a way that is also where my experience helps a little bit, and maturing knowing it takes less time to recover from such tough days in the office. I am getting there slowly but surely, and from tomorrow ready to attack again.”
Although starting 11th means that Rosberg has a free choice of tires for the race, Brawn said that it was not automatic that the team would start on the medium – which is the better race tire.
“I think we have got tonight to look at it all,” he said. “There are pros and cons; you have got to run the [soft] option at some stage, but whether it is better to run the option at the beginning of the race or the end of the race, we will see what develops tomorrow.
“It will be a race where you won’t know how the cards are going to fall until the last five laps.”