Nico Rosberg has admitted that the new Pirelli tyres brought to Germany are “different” and require a different set-up along with revealing that the Mercedes one-lap pace is still their strong suit. However he feels confident that Mercedes has got to grips with the updated tyre compounds and improved race pace despite just 180 minutes of on track action to do so.
Speaking in a team statement after the two Friday practice sessions, Rosberg said: “It was an interesting day for us as we had to adapt to the new tyres. They are different and require a different set-up, so today was a good opportunity to learn something. We want to understand them quicker and better than the other teams.”
The German finished both FP1 and FP2 in second place and completed 63 laps in total. He feels that one lap pace is still where the car is strongest but that their race pace is improving too: “Generally it seems that we are quick again over one lap and the long run was not bad. It’s difficult to predict where we are, because you never know exactly about the fuel levels of the others. Also it’s going to get warmer on Sunday and this could change also the whole picture again.”
Team-mate Lewis Hamilton topped the morning session but finished eighth in the second, completing 60 laps but feeling that he lost the balance of the car in the afternoon: “It’s been a reasonable day of practice for us. This morning went pretty well and the car felt good, but then we made some changes which didn’t quite work out for us this afternoon. The car felt a little off-balance during P2 so we’ll have a look into that overnight and probably backtrack on some of those changes for tomorrow. I’m sure we will be back on form for P3.”
Team Principal Ross Brawn admitted that the team attempted to track the evolving circuit conditions and set the car up accordingly but just fell short: “The circuit itself was picking up grip quite quickly and we didn’t quite get the set-up correct as we tried to track it. However, the priority was to collect plenty of information about the new tyres for both tomorrow and Sunday, which we managed to do.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic