The strategies of the Mercedes drivers came into conflict as Michael Schumacher spent half the race stuck behind Nico Rosberg. But could it have been avoided?
|Michael Schumacher||Nico Rosberg|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q3)||1’31.846 (+0.352)||1’31.494|
|Average race lap||1’43.533 (-0.994)||1’44.527|
Scraped into Q3, eliminating Nick Heidfeld with his last effort in Q2, and lined up tenth on the grid.
A good start followed by a pass on Rubens Barrichello at the later restart moved him up to sixth. But he lost that place when he pitted and fell behind Rosberg – though as explained earlier it looked like the team could have avoided that happening.
Schumacher couldn’t find a way past Rosberg despite being advised on the radio his team mate world “be sensible” if he tried a move. Rosberg’s eventual retirement put him back in sixth at the chequered flag.
Seventh in qualifying became sixth on the grid after Lewis Hamilton’s penalty.
Rosberg was passed by Hamilton and Barrichello at the start, so the team pitted him under the safety car to get his mandatory change to the hard tyres out of the way.
This worked out well for Rosberg, pulling him back up to sixth, until a wheel failed at the Dunlop curve on lap 48, causing a heavy crash:
It was a disappointing end to the weekend today. Due to a clutch problem, my start was poor but our strategy was good to change tyres under the safety car on the first lap which enabled me to recover the places and be racing in sixth position.
My tyres were suffering from having done such a long stint so it was tough to maintain a good pace but it was enough to keep Michael behind. Then something broke on the rear of the car and put me into the tyre barrier which ended my race early.
2010 Japanese Grand Prix