Mercedes motor sport boss Norbert Haug says that Nico Rosberg would easily have finished on the podium in Monaco if he hadn’t stumbled in Q3.
Rosberg had looked good throughout Saturday, and was fastest in Q2. However he struggled to get a good lap in during the final session, which also saw some unfortunate timing when the two Mercedes drivers held each other up.
In the race Rosberg got up to second by staying out longer than his rivals, and had no problem running with race leader Mark Webber before his own stop dropped him back. he lost out to team mate Michael Schumacher, but the World Champion’s penalty eventually moved Nico up from eighth to seventh,
“The problem is certainly that we did not extract what was possible in qualifying,” Haug told this blog. “And when Nico was in fresh air, you could see he had good speed. Normally the key to being good in Monaco is how long you can run with the option tyres, and he did a very long stint with very good times until he hit traffic again.
“But in hindsight, if he had started second or third, which was possible… If you are first in Q2 and the others tried two times and he had one outing, so the speed was in my view was there. It’s just an assumption, but he had the speed for row one or row two, basically. If you then have a good start and you then follow this train, and the other guys need to pit before you for example, then you have a very good chance. This is what we did not use at the end of the day.
“On the contrary we got stuck behind Barrichello, because he overtook us from the start, which was a good job from him. But we suffered from the lack of speed he produced so the gap was too big, and that was it at the end of the day.”
Despite the frustration, Haug says Monaco was a positive weekend: “From the package, and I think that’s the encouraging thing, it looked completely different to Barcelona. Now the big question is can you translate it to Turkey and other tracks?”