Nico: Limited progress at best
Mercedes driver thinks they can make up a couple of places at most in Korean GP
By Mike Wise in Yeongam. Last Updated: October 14, 2012 12:54pm
Nico Rosberg reckons he and Mercedes will be able to make up one or two places at most during Sunday's Korean Grand Prix.
Rosberg qualified ninth on Saturday, one place ahead of team-mate Michael Schumacher. Although both cars were quick during the first sector at the Korea International Circuit - Rosberg was in fact fastest of all in the sector, which comprises two long straights - they struggled elsewhere on the lap.
Rosberg concedes that making progress will be difficult, with Mercedes' likely having to rely on an aggressive strategy if they cannot make their advantage in sector one - where the DRS zone is situated - pay.
"Lately we've been similar from qualifying to race, so it's not going to be easy for us to move forward. But we'll try and take the opportunities; with a good start and a good strategy one or two places is possible. A target of the top seven would be a very good position for where we are at the moment," he said.
"Overtaking could be possible tomorrow because the tyres are very much on the edge and there's going to be a lot of graining on the front and degradation on the rear, so things could get very interesting out there."
Team Principal Ross Brawn said that graining of the front tyres prevented his drivers from giving a better qualifying performance.
Brawn explained that the problem, caused by lower track temperatures, occurred in the tight, twisting final sector of the lap.
Even so, he is optimistic that the problem will not be as significant in the race.
"I thought today we should have had a stronger performance but both cars suffered with graining in the fronts in the last sector," Brawn said.
"We had a very good sector one, sector two was pretty good and the tyre simply moved away from us in sector three. I think as the temperatures dropped a bit, it didn't help us.
"In the first two sectors we had a reasonably balanced car but the front right then started to grain.
"Once that happens, until it cleans up, you have go through that phase before you get the grip back again.
"It's not an ideal thing to take into a race if I'm honest, but I think it will probably clean up tomorrow in the race and then we should be okay."