Schumacher: W03 well balanced
Friday form leaves German legend "looking forward" to qualy
Last Updated: April 13, 2012 12:05pm
Michael Schumacher expressed his satisfaction with the balance of Mercedes' W03 around the Shanghai International Circuit after he set the pace at the end of Friday practice.
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The seven-time World Champion topped the timesheet in the completely dry second session at the Chinese circuit to further underline the Brackley-based squad's pace over shorter runs.
Schumacher, who admitted earlier this week that his record in China wasn't the best, feels the team have established a good basis from which to enjoy a strong weekend.
"It was a trouble-free day, and I am quite happy with how our car is handling so far here," he said.
"The balance of the car was reasonably good, and obviously a balanced car contributes a lot to lap time.
"As a team, we are a lot stronger in certain areas this season, and we have a much better base to work from, although we are not quite where we want to be with this car yet but I am confident we will get there.
"We will now have to look deeper into the data in order to find out where we really are here, but I am looking forward to tomorrow's qualifying."
Team-mate Nico Rosberg was fifth on the more representative afternoon timesheet, lapping 0.644s off Schumacher's pace, and was pleased with the team's efforts to get more pace out of the W03 over longer runs after struggling with tyre temperatures in both Australia and Malaysia.
"It's important for us at the moment that we try a lot of different evaluations during practice to improve our race pace," he said.
"So I think it was a decent start to the race weekend today as we learned quite a few interesting things.
"The conditions were so changeable today that it was difficult to take the right decisions in terms of set-up work, and we struggled a little with the front tyres. That may have been caused by the cold temperatures today, and can change very quickly between now and the race, so I am not too concerned."
Team boss Ross Brawn underlined the focus on long-run pace, adding: "Whilst our low fuel runs look good, our primary focus has been on race pace and working to understand the tyres so that we can use them as well as possible on Sunday."