Mercedes take what they can
A three-stop strategy worked well for Nico Rosberg but cost Michael Schumacher dearly.
Rosberg started 21st and was able to move up to tenth by the end and grab the final point on offer, whereas Schumacher started third but could do no better than seventh. While their rivals did two stops, Mercedes did three, going into the race believing they would have to do one extra to combat the excessive degradation afflicting the Mercedes.
“There are nicer ways to finish a home race than falling back from third to seventh place,” reflected Schumacher. “I squeezed everything I could out of the car but, unfortunately, that's everything we could manage today.
“Before this weekend, we expected to be racing between P5 and P7, and of course fifth place would have been the better option, but seventh was our maximum in these circumstances.”
Rosberg’s lowly starting position was caused by a combination of a gearbox-change penalty and a poor qualifying performance in the rain-affected Q2 session. His afternoon saw a steady recovery as he made his way past the slower cars ahead of him.
“It feels ok to have scored one point today after such a bad qualifying yesterday and starting right at the back,” said Rosberg. “We had a good strategy and I had great fun out there at times overtaking so many people to move from 21st to 10th place. Some of the guys I had to overtake a couple of times and there were some nice manoeuvres.”
“We ran the race as well as we could today, in the knowledge that we would have to make three pit stops,” summarised team principal Ross Brawn. “Some of our rivals on two-stop strategies faded towards the end but the drop-off was not sufficient for our drivers to be able to take advantage on fresher tyres. Michael and Nico put in consistent performances, pulled off good overtaking moves and we delivered six clean pit stops. Our strategy enabled Nico to climb eleven positions from his starting place, while Michael finished in seventh place for the second time in two weeks. We made the right decisions this afternoon but, after 67 laps, Michael found himself 29 seconds behind the winner. That shows we need to find more pace from the car.”
Having fresh rubber at the end of the race did allow Schumacher to set his fifth career Hockenheim fastest lap – 19 years after his first.