Michael Schumacher revealed that a KERS problem in qualifying prompted him to run his unusual Q3 strategy at Barcelona today.
The seven-time champion set out on hard tires in the pole shoot-out, then aborted his lap once it became clear that everyone else was using softs and he was set for 10th place regardless. The plan allows him to start on the opposite tyre strategy to the rest of the frontrunners in the first stint of tomorrow's grand prix.
"Unfortunately in Q3, my KERS system did not work but we reacted in the best possible way," he said. "We took the decision to go out on prime tyres to be able to react if other cars did the same. As no one did, we came in without setting a time so we can now choose our strategy for tomorrow.
"I will certainly try to have another of the good starts that I have made recently, make up some positions right at the beginning, and take it from there. With DRS and KERS, overtaking is possible even in Barcelona, so it is important to use your tires well, and I still have a set of fresh tires left. I will definitely try to make the best out of it."
His Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg qualified seventh, four places lower than he had in Turkey a fortnight ago, but a consequence of a different approach from the team, according to the German.
"With our focus on the race pace this weekend, it was to be expected that we might suffer a little in qualifying," Rosberg said. "However, I am not too disappointed with seventh place as we should be stronger in the race tomorrow, and I believe we can aim to be better than in Istanbul. I have one set of new tires left which is good for us, and I hope that we can move up with the right strategy."