Mercedes: Rosberg wanted Schumacher to let him pass

2011 Spanish GP team review

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Nico Rosberg spent much of the Spanish Grand Prix stuck behind his team mate.

According to reports after the race, Rosberg even urged his team to tell Michael Schumacher to let him pass.

They didn’t, and Rosberg ended the race in Schumacher’s wheel tracks.

Michael Schumacher Nico Rosberg
Qualifying position 10 7
Qualifying time comparison (Q2) 1’22.671 (+0.102) 1’22.569
Race position 6 7
Laps 65/66 65/66
Pit stops 3 3

Mercedes drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61
Michael Schumacher 98.633 92.839 92.136 92.005 91.738 91.711 91.903 91.809 91.849 94.99 107.184 91.62 91.663 91.267 92.941 91.501 91.25 91.167 90.774 91.274 91.23 91.61 91.139 91.669 92.32 93.631 107.167 90.838 90.804 90.428 90.573 90.241 90.058 89.463 90.197 90.717 90.428 89.923 91.798 90.965 92.641 107.165 89.572 89.818 90.228 90.367 91.74 90.98 89.821 90.272 90.616 90.021 89.953 92.203 90.225 90.065 89.804 90.236 90.661 89.672 89.848
Nico Rosberg 99.139 92.784 92.187 92.434 91.597 91.71 91.829 91.93 91.869 92.404 95.52 108.494 92.882 90.624 91.393 90.355 90.745 90.742 91.017 91.016 91.467 91.839 91.187 91.734 92.333 92.891 95.206 106.678 91.725 89.596 89.705 89.958 89.671 89.155 89.323 89.622 90.433 90.361 91.21 91.556 90.501 92.936 107.254 89.608 89.763 92.848 90.12 89.839 89.797 90.123 90.297 90.591 89.887 92.91 90.652 89.67 89.417 90.549 89.817 89.564 89.923
Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Barcelona, 2011

Michael Schumacher

Schumacher’s KERS failed during Q3 so the team limited the damage by sending him out on hard tyres as a precaution. He didn’t set a time anyway and started tenth.

He took advantage of Vitaly Petrov edging Rosberg onto the grass at turn three to get ahead of his team mate and stayed there.

He came in one lap before Rosberg at all three pit stops, which gave him the benefit of fresher tyres each time, allowing him to stay ahead.

Michael Schumacher 2011 form guide

Nico Rosberg

Rosberg spent almost all of the race stuck behind Schumacher, hampered by faults with his radio and DRS.

Towards the end of the race he had Nick Heidfeld bearing down on him – the trio were covered by 1.3 seconds at the line.

Nico Rosberg 2011 form guide

2011 Spanish Grand Prix

    Browse all 2011 Spanish Grand Prix articles

    Image © Daimler

    Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Barcelona, 2011

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    Keith Collantine
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    56 comments on “Mercedes: Rosberg wanted Schumacher to let him pass”

    1. Nice to see Schumacher competitive against his team mate!

      1. The man can may have lost a few 10ths in quali over the years, but he can still defend a position.

        DRS issues for Rosberg explain something too.

        1. Yeah he really defended that position well,copy book stuff just goes to show that he still have some magic left in him.

          1. Actually, in light of an article from a few weeks ago whose headline was somewhat misleading “Alonso: Rosberg cost us shot at victory” which was meant to look like a quote from FA, but in fact was not, I decided to see what Rosberg actually said after this weekends Spanish GP, since no actual quotes have been provided here, and guess what…no quote referring to NR wanting MS to let him pass.

            Oh, I’m sure NR wanted the seas to part and everyone just move out of his way like all drivers would wish for in their dreams, so that he could just take the win, but in fact his post-race quotes have more to do with him having no radio communication basically all day which made it very difficult for him to understand how the race was unfolding, and coupled with no DRS he said he had fun battling with MS for 6th but he wasn’t fully capable of making a pass and having it stick.

            In other words, NR did not expect nor ask the team to tell MS to move over for him.

            1. The headline was not at all “misleading” as I explained at the time:


              and guess what…no quote referring to NR wanting MS to let him pass.

              Refer to the link provided in the second paragraph of this article.

            2. Sorry Keith, if you mean click on ‘reports after the race’ it is a BBC site and for UK only and is not letting me in.

              Can you provide a direct quote from NR stating that he wanted or urged his team to let him pass MS?

            3. If I had one I’d have put it in the article. As you can guess, the link is to a report – one which I’m inclined to view as trustworthy – which says that Rosberg did just that.

            4. Fair enough guys…viewed the U tube link and Kravitz is no doubt trustworthy on this…I guess the quotes I read from NR are him being more diplomatic…perhaps Kravitz’s interview with NR (or TK’s info given to him re NR’s comments) was more in the heat of the moment, and later on NR was more diplomatic about it.

              Perhaps, (since some have brought up last year’s Japanese GP and MS being ‘held up’ by NR, and MS being told NR would be sensible if he made a move) NR thought that this time around MS should be sensible in return. In both this weekend’s race and last year’s Japanese GP, neither driver could really make a serious sustainable attempt on their teammate anyway.

    2. Think back to Suzuka last season Nico.

      I didn’t see you jumping out of the way to let Michael past.

      1. Exactly what I was thinking. On that occasion Schumacher was faster, but got bottled up until Rosberg’s wheel fell off.

        1. +1 Craig. He wasn’t thinking of the team then and good for Mercedes for letting them race esp with Ross Brawn :P.

          1. Especially as it seems very unlikely Rosberg would have been fast enough to get more points for the team, he would have had to gain 18 seconds on Alonso and pass him for that. So it would have been unlikely to help the team get a better result.

        2. So I went back to conversation on this site about last year’s Japanese GP…the conversation revolves around the question of why Merc pitted MS seemingly 2 laps too early, as had they not done that MS would have likely come out ahead of NR.

          Speculation had it that they were perhaps worried about where NH and RB were on the track and didn’t want to see MS come out behind them, or that NR staying ahead of MS and taking the 6th spot (had his wheel not fallen off) would have put NR ahead of FM in the driver standings and the team might have been enticed by having one of their drivers ahead of a Ferrari in the standings.

          At one point there is a radio communication to MS…”Michael, no team orders, but Nico knows to be sensible if you make a move.”

          No move was forthcoming from MS.

          I haven’t delved into it far enough to see if MS asked the team to ask NR to move over for him.

          So from what I can tell, this past weekend NR did not ask the team to have MS move over for him, but last year in Japan the team did tell MS that NR would not make it difficult if he attempted a pass.

          1. So I will now retract my position that NR did not ask the team to have MS move over, in light of the video evidence of Ted Kravitz’s race report stating that NR did just that.

            No such accomodation was made for NR, and he was told they would have to race it out, yet last year in the Japanese GP they did tell MS that if he attempted a pass on NR, NR ‘knew to be sensible about it.’

            Guess it can still be a one-way street on a team with MS on it. Oh well, NR is doing fine anyway.

            1. In susuka michael was way faster than Rosberg. That was not the case in Spain,Nico had his moments but the gap varied.

      2. Douglas62500
        24th May 2011, 11:51

        No I think that incident was only that Schumacher had fresher tyres than Rosberg, and that Rosberg had problems on his car. I guess Schumi should consider benefitting the team as a whole.

        1. Schumacher pitted earlier than Rosberg in that race though.

        2. DMC, one must wonder then, if MS was way faster than NR last year in Japan, why he didn’t get by NR even when told NR would be sensible about a passing attempt if he made one. Methinks MS wasn’t in reality that much faster, or he would have gotten by the compliant NR.

    3. The Mercedes-drivers were only fighting each other, not the Red Bulls and McLarens. Not a good thing.

      1. Cluffy_Wedge
        23rd May 2011, 15:39

        Yep. Surely being lapped would indicate an overall deficit of over a second a lap?

        Good show from Schumi, although I do wonder whether Nico would have overtaken him even with DRS. I mean, hardly any of the passes made were into turn 1.

      2. Hard to know the real pace of the Mercs though — had Nico been let past, how fast would he have been? Probably would not have been caught up by Heidfeld at the end of the race, and given Alonso’s bad strategy, probably even competitive with him?

        (shows that without a different tyre strategy it’s impossible to get past. And within a team normally the lead driver gets to pit first)

    4. Nico wanted MSC to let him pass, I think Nico should look up the meaning of the phrase “dream on”, because that will never happen!

      1. Thats true. Rosberg didn’t let Schumacher past in Suzuka 2010, although Rosberg was on worn out tyres. There is no way that he could demand Schumacher or Mercedes to let him past. I think if he had DRS working well, he would be able to get by Schumacher, but I guess we will never know about that.

        I’m actually kind of disappointed that Nico asked his team to let him past Schumacher. I guess he has learn’t a lot from his teammate already..

        1. In Brazil last year Schumacher let Rosberg past without complaining because they thought that coud bring Rosberg way ahead. So if he wanted to, Schumacher would help Nico, just not if the only thing Rosberg could gain from it is being ahead of Schumacher and nothing else.

          1. Rosberg thought he could take the fight to Alonso, but if he couldn’t pass Schumacher I don’t see how he was gonna pass Alonso. Schumacher was right to defend.

            1. I don’t know when NR made his request to get by MS, but if it was early on there is the potential that NR could have been closer to the front runners than MS got such that he could have potentially gotten ahead of FA through pitting strategy.

              In hindsight, now knowing that NR had no DRS, and seeing the gap later in the race to FA, then of course it is hard to imagine NR getting by FA when he couldn’t even get by MS. But earlier in the race? Different story. NR showed more pace than MS throughout the race by always being able to reel him in, so there’s a good chance NR might have done a little bit better than MS overall had NR not be held up by Petrov at the start, and had NR’s DRS been working, not to mention his radio that left him in the dark for much of the race.

              One further comment…with no radio communication, how did NR request/urge the team that MS should let him by?

        2. Nico got caught in a bad trap though. The circuit is horrible for overtaking, the DRS wasn’t working to help things a little and he could do nothing to outsmart him in the pits simply because he couldn’t talk to his engineer.
          That’s some frustrating staff. Maybe he felt upset because the team kept bringing Schumacher always first and he could do nothing because he had no radio.

          1. Thats the way it works. The lead driver in the race gets first choice of pit and normally the 2nd driver is not allowed to undercut or in previous years overcut to get ahead.

            If Nico was upset with the race then he should try not being behind his team m8 by the 2nd lap, who started 3 positions behind him on the dirty side of the grid. That’s what stuffed his race not the drs.

            1. Anyone else notice this was not the case at Red Bull? They gave Vettel the undercut.

            2. Was webber still leading vettel at that point? You’re most probably right mike because im pretty sure I was outraged at that in the race. (so much going on it’s hard to remember).

              Redbull have said they did what they did because of fernandos start but yeah go figure.

              The look on every redbull team members face except mark webbers mechanics when he got pole position. The way the team were clearly considering sending them out again wasting a set of tyres just to try and reverse that order shows you the mentality within that team. In turkey seb gets pole and he’s out of the car before the sessions over. Mark gets pole everyone has their game faces on it was like a mexican stand off with f1 cars.

    5. it was fun watchin them battle..if shumi let rosberg it wud b boring.insted he defnded leagally…realy gud stuff frm both of them.

    6. MSC has let Rosberg past on occasion, as in Brazil Nico had fresher tyres and a better chance to challenge Button ahead so Michael let him through

      1. Yes, and Suzuka last season Schmacher was the quicker and Nico didn’t let him by. On this occasion can’t have seen Nico gain anymore places as Alonso was next in front 25 seconds up the track.

    7. I think Rosberg deliberately dropped back at one point and then caught up again, to demonstrate to the team that he was faster. But, so what? He didn’t yield in an identical situation in Suzuka last year, nor is he a serious contender in the driver’s championship. Maybe he could have had a go at catching Alonso, but that’s still only 5th place and it was obviously important to Michael that he made amends for his poor showing in Turkey, so Nico had little reason to expect to be allowed past.

      1. exactly my thought , if Nico was in with a chance of the championship , different story , and i think Ross Brawn would have moved Schu. back . But now he lets them get on with it , and as said above , good to see how Schu. can still defend position so well. Makes me hope that Mercedes GP can soon catch up RBR and McLaren on pace , because both their drivers are still extremely competitive and talented.

    8. The New Hope
      23rd May 2011, 17:10

      Good race, on the one hand, for both Mercedes to finish in the top 10.

    9. Existe muito equilíbrio na relação entre os pilotos da Mercedes. Esse equilíbrio se reflete também fora das pistas. Acredito que não resida apenas na diferença de idade e na experiência. Nico também sabe que Schummy, mais cedo ou mais tarde, novamente se aposentará. E, além do aprendizado com o “velho”, ficará o registro de ter sido companheiro de equipe do mito.

    10. I give them credit for doing the same now as they did in Suzuka. I was still cheering for Nico to get by the fair way, through merit.

    11. Rosberg said they rather concentrated on race pace more than qualifying here, after the non to glorious result in Turkey.

      Then he got caught out by some trouble, but he figures he could have gotten Alonso without too much trouble if not for the issues with the DRS and the radio as well as (i think) a dodgy stop. Not looking all bad then, just its so competative behind the Red Bulls you can be 3rd but also fall to 8th.

    12. Nice one, Schumacher :) Good to see him finish in 6th. Glad he kept his head down this team and didn’t cause anyone any grief. Well…apart from Nico.

      Solid result for Mercedes.

    13. It seems strange considering we are told Michael and Nico have similar requirements on set up, how Michael had such bad oversteer and Nico had good balance.

      1. I’d be surprised if they are actually that similar with their setups. Michael’s car always looks like more of a handful – in the past he had quite an extreme way of setting up the car… unfortunately I don’t think it’s working well at all on the Mercedes.

        1. I think the setup is different from the balance of the car. Martin brundle did a feature on it in the pre race show? Basicly the setup is tweaking angles of the wings suspension even the use of different steering racks count as setup i would think.

          The balance is determind by the way the ballast is placed in the car. So they could have identical setups but a different balance as far as I know.

          1. So maybe nico is lighter and has more ballast to play with?

    14. I hope from this race onward Schumi finds the joy he is searching for.

    15. good to see everyone :) @schumi

    16. Ummm! Slightly Confused.

      All these schumi fans saying isn’t it so good he could stop a faster driver overtaking. I thought the idea of the DRS was to get rid of this. OK Rosberg’s DRS was faulty, but in the interests of the team wouldn’t it have been better to let Rosberg past so that he could try to catch the next car up the road, because it was clear Schumi couldn’t.

      Rosberg was stuck behind Schumi from at least lap 22, he would only have needed to go approx 0.2s/lap faster to catch Alonso, and I think he was faster than that.

      1. Then they should have done the same at Japan last year.

        1. Rosberg was stuck behind schu from lap 2 onwards and it was his own fault for failing to get even a poor start. If he had a bad start he would have still been ahead of his team m8 who started 3 positions behind him on the dirty side of the grid. But he didn’t get a bad start he got a terrible start like he always does and schu taught him a lesson.

          1. Actually, NR started just as well as MS but got balked by a Renault after turn 1 which is what allowed MS to get by him…clearly NR had no trouble reeling MS in every time they pitted and/or other traffic cleared out, so if it hadn’t been for NR getting held up in the beginning he likely would have stayed ahead of MS and been faster than him all day, and in hindsight he might have had a shot at FA had he been unencumbered by the Renault from the getgo.

            1. Rosberg started 3 places ahead of Schumacher, biut going into turn 1, Schumacher was 1 place behind. Then Petrov (who had a poor Sunday), came into the equation and blocked Rosberg.

            2. Generally the start is defined as the period of the race that takes place after the lights go out and before the cars have all got onto the racing line.

              Nico rosberg was shown the grass by michael alongside him (which by the way how was he alongside nico if they had identical starts up untill this point?) and petrov infront of him regardless of the if who where what why and but it translates the same. Nico started ahead and finished the lap behind…he got a bad start.

              Also if you take a look at the race start again you’ll see only nico rosbergs front wing on msc’s on car camera. He was already behind michael before petrovs line adjustment.

      2. W-K: DRS is supposed (rightly or wrongly) to address the disappointing situation in which a much faster car/driver has extremely little chance to overtake a leading car, no matter how skillful his attempts may be – e.g. Abu Dhabi and Bahrain last year.

        If there is minimal opportunity to pass a competitive car on track, it isn’t really “racing”. However, nor is it racing when a faster car/driver inevitably overtakes a slower car within a few laps, due to its being trivially easy – if DRS were to bring about that situation (arguably it, in combination with the Pirelli tyres, did so in Turkey) then it would be a total failure and the “races” would be equally as boring as a procession.

        Slower cars holding up faster cars is the essential ingredient of motor racing that differentiates it from time trialling!

        But don’t worry, the BBC commentators also made the same misguided comments in Australia and Spain, where (imo) the DRS zones were calibrated perfectly well for exciting racing.

    17. Form 1st stint rosberg already stuck behind Schu train.. if he can go faster easily can past Scu when pitstop.. He have 3 stop to leap frog but he cant.. look at button

      simply rosberg not fast enough.. petrov n massa simply going worse

      n like alonso, Schu get better drive at start .. Are Alonso must let pass Vettel?

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