Mercedes introduced a new exhaust package and had a few problems with it in practice, dousing the back of Nico Rosberg’s car with fire extinguisher foam at one stage.
|Michael Schumacher||Nico Rosberg|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q2)||1’32.656 (+0.361)||1’32.295|
Mercedes drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):
Schumacher was delayed by a gearbox problem in final practice. In qualifying he missed out on the top ten for the fourth time this year:
“Owing to the uncertain weather situation, and in order to not risk driving in the rain, we went out rather early, which simply turned out to be too early.
“On my last lap, the tyres were unfortunately already gone and, especially in turn six, I suffered understeer which cost me the time to make it into the top ten.”
Not for the first time this year, Schumacher started well, gaining four places to run ninth. But he ran into Kamui Kobayashi while trying to use DRS to pass the Sauber.
He admitted the collision was “my fault”, saying: “Having used DRS for the first time in the race, I was arriving at the corner with over-run. Underestimating the effect, my braking was not good and this is how the collision happened.
“It was right to get a penalty but why it had to be a stop-go, and not a drive-through penalty, I would like to understand better as I felt it was too hard.”
Stop-go penalties were used in place of drive-throughs at Silverstone because the time lost coming into the new pit lane was so low. Drivers were gaining around a second over their usual lap times on in-laps.
Schumacher took the opportunity to switch to soft tyres, which turned out to be perfectly-timed and the other drivers soon followed his lead. This helped him take back some of the time lost.
He passed Jaime Alguersuari at Stowe on lap 33 for what turned out to be ninth place.
Like Lewis Hamilton, Rosberg started Q3 on a used set of option tyres with a view to using a new set for his final run.
But that plan was scuppered by fresh rainfall – Rosberg pressed on and caught a lurid slide at the exit of Chapel but was forced to abort his run, starting ninth.
He got off the line well but was passed by Lewis Hamilton on the outside of Village and lost further places to his team mate and Adrian Sutil.
Rosberg was the highest-running driver to commit to a two-stop strategy and made it work well, finishing “best of the rest” in sixth place.
2011 British Grand Prix
Image © Daimler