Disappointed Schumi left perplexed
German thought he had crossed the line at the end of Q3 in time
Last Updated: 09/06/12 9:41pm
A disappointed Michael Schumacher admitted he was confused as to why he was told to abandon his final qualifying lap by his Mercedes team in Montreal, with the German convinced he had crossed the start/finish line before the chequered flag had fallen.
The 43-year-old, who had been many pundits' tips to challenge for his first victory since his comeback this weekend, will start Sunday's race from an underwhelming ninth after failing to set a sufficiently fast time on his first hot lap in Q3 and then apparently running out of time to complete a further timed effort.
However, speaking to Sky Sports F1 after the session, Schumacher said he was perplexed as to why the team radioed to tell him that he had run out of time in the first sector of his final lap when he thought he had passed a green light.
"I don't think you can talk about satisfaction, rather disappointment, because we've been on a good run," said Schumacher, who was seen waving his arm in apparent frustration in the cockpit when told to abort the lap.
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"We've been [in] Q1, Q2 everything perfect. We tried the first run in Q3 on a single lap, didn't work and then we reverted back to a two-lap run.
"I started my second lap, see the green light, and then the team called me and said 'no, you're too late'. So that's it and I don't understand why. I saw the green light, passed it just on time but..."
With team-mate Nico Rosberg to start from the head of the third row, Schumacher was rather blunt in his assessment of his own starting berth for Sunday: "That's c*** where we are..."
Team Principal Ross Brawn admitted the order for Schumacher to abort had been an operational error, as Mercedes had decided very late on to go for the extra lap.
"We knew it was tight the whole way," he explained. "We were monitoring but I think we just thought we had a bit more time than we did.
"When we got to the last sector, we realised it was tight but there's not a lot a driver can do in the last sector to pick up a lot of time. Of course, we were trying to balance it with not overstressing the tyre because there's no point in doing the lap if you've already used up the tyre.
"But it was very tight because we'd already planned originally one lap time but we had to put the extra fuel in to do another lap, so with that we were a bit late. We didn't quite call that one correctly."
He added: "The plan was that he was going to take it easy on the first lap and do the time on the second lap, but we went a bit too easy. We didn't keep him well enough informed of where he was and we just let it slip a little bit too much."
Schumacher's team-mate Nico Rosberg lines up fifth on the grid ahead of a race for which Mercedes have been strongly fancied.
Brawn still rates their chances as "solid" and says both his drivers are happy with the performance of their cars.
"We need things to come together to be challenging right at the front but I think it could be a pretty solid race. The car seemed good on high fuel, with the work we were able to do," he added.
"I think we'll get some surprises with the tyres and hopefully we'll manage the tyre situation well. So I think we can have a pretty respectable race tomorrow."