SHANGHAI, April 16, 2011 (AFP) - Team-mates Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher had contrasting experiences with their Mercedes cars in Saturday's qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix, but did not rule out a podium finish.
Rosberg, 25, made a few "simple changes" to his car and secured an impressive fourth place on the grid, while fellow German and seven-time world champion Schumacher, now 42, ran into problems and wound up 14th.
"It's a positive day for us," said Rosberg. "It's been very difficult the last couple of weeks, but today we've improved the car, that's clear, and just with very simple, basic things -- and a lot of hard work -- and that's nice to see.
"We're not where we want to be, but we're close to McLaren and we're way ahead of Ferrari, today at least, so that's a good thing. "Even on race pace tomorrow there's a good chance I can do a good race because we've improved our race pace too."
He added: "When you start fourth, a podium is never out of the question. It's a bit optimistic, but why not?" Schumacher said another problem with his Mercedes' Drag Reduction System (DRS) had cost him a chance to join Rosberg in the top five.
"What a shame for me today as we have clearly demonstrated this weekend that as a team we have improved a lot," said Schumacher. "Nico proved that strongly with his fourth place, which was our realistic
"I didn't quite get my lap together in Q2 and since then we have found out that my rear wing was not functioning correctly as I was braking into Turn 14. "I am obviously hoping to have a strong start and that we have good race pace tomorrow so I can hopefully make up some positions."