Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn said that the team needs to reprioritize its race preparations during a grand prix weekend, after Nico Rosberg dropped from third position on the grid to finish fifth in the Turkish Grand Prix.
The German suffered from tire blistering while his W02 had a heavy fuel load, which saw him unable to defend his position early in the race, and Brawn believes that the cause of this could possibly be traced to earlier in the weekend.
"We knew we had a little bit of vulnerability on high fuel so I think we are going to have to think again about how we approach priorities over the weekend, because when we got into the race we started blistering the rear tires which we hadn't seen in practice," Brawn said. "That's why we fell away so quickly. Then as the fuel load came down, that problem went away and the pace picked up and we started to get respectable again.
"We had run [the fuel level] in practice but obviously we were short of time because of the rain, and while we ran Friday afternoon with high fuel, we didn't see that problem. I think what's clear in this racing is that qualifying is probably the least critical thing now and having a good race setup with the correct number of [sets of] tires is the most important thing."
Rosberg admitted that he was surprised and disappointed to find himself swallowed by the pack in the early stages of the race, adding that he lost touch with the pattern of the grand prix once he had made the switch to the prime tire after his first pit stop.
"I have to speak to the team to see if it is possible to make things a bit clearer in my head because it is so difficult to understand," he said. "I was so disappointed because at one point I saw myself going backward, and then the Renaults started arriving and I started getting pressure from them, so I was like 'OK, this is terrible and so slow.' But in the end it was OK – it was just the strategy.
"I didn't really know what was going on anymore or where I was on the strategy," he added. "I was really disappointed at the beginning but then in the end I was still in the fight with the McLarens, I passed Jenson [Button] for fifth and so the day was not too bad.
"In general we have to say it was a positive weekend for us because we are moving up, getting stronger and we know where we can improve still. We haven't put any massive updates on the car yet so things will start improving now with new parts and new ideas. Now we understand very clearly that we need to work on the race, because qualifying is looking better and better but we are still struggling a bit in the race, so its important to learn from that."