Mercedes says its decision not to post times in Q3 gives it a chance to fend off counter-attacks from midfield rivals in the Singapore Grand Prix. The strategic moves gives its drivers another fresh set of tires for a race expected to be shaped by high degradation.
The team, which brought new "Coanda effect" exhaust layouts to Singapore, will start Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg ninth and 10th on the grid, after spending much of the weekend working in new setups for the updates. Schumacher admitted afterward that keeping fresh sets of tires for the race was therefore imperative.
"I am reasonably pleased with our qualifying result, considering what we have seen this weekend," said the German, who has struggled with brake issues. "Of course, we could have tried to make up one or two positions, although this would have been very difficult. However, we decided to give up this possibility in favor of the fact that we now have a fresh set and free choice of tires going into the race.
"We decided this strategy after the final practice session, and after seeing who made it into Q3, we went for it. Hopefully we can make the best of this choice tomorrow."
Team principal Ross Brawn added: "We've made good progress over the weekend with our new aerodynamic package, which is encouraging. This weekend has been the first opportunity for Michael and Nico to try the upgrades, and it has taken a little while to get the setup into a reasonable shape.
"Given the closeness of the second part of the grid, we made a strategic decision not to go out for a lap in Q3, and we're happy to have the choice of tires and new sets for the race tomorrow."