MONACO, May 15 (Reuters) - Nico Rosberg apologised to a frustrated Michael Schumacher on Saturday after the seven times world champion complained he had been slowed by his Mercedes team mate in Monaco Grand Prix qualifying.
Rosberg was outqualified for the first time by the 41-year-old in Spain last weekend but turned the tables on his fellow German by taking sixth place on the starting grid for the season’s most glamorous race with Schumacher seventh.
“I have to say from my perspective that all of our colleagues drove very fairly. The only car that blocked me was my team mate,” Schumacher told television reporters after the session.
“It’s a shame but there you go. It happened in quali three (the third phase) when there were only 10 cars on the track.”
Rosberg, son of Finland’s 1982 world champion Keke, told reporters he had apologised for a situation that Mercedes said was their fault rather than the driver’s because they sent him out at the wrong time and the radio had failed as well.
“I feel extremely frustrated about today because we had a good car all weekend and as a team we didn’t perform well in Q3,” said team principal Ross Brawn.
“There was a problem with Nico’s car getting out of the garage,” he explained.
“The last thing we wanted was to have our two cars on the same piece of track... the plan was to split them but when we came to release Nico’s car we had a problem with releasing it. It left the garage 20 or 30 seconds later than we planned.
“So then we had both cars together and Nico was getting squeezed,” added Brawn. “I think Michael was annoyed after the second or third lap... when I explained to him what happened he was OK, just frustrated.... we cocked up.”
Schumacher, making his comeback after three years in retirement, has won five times in Monaco and a sixth win would equal the record of the late Brazilian Ayrton Senna.
“I don’t think it would have been my quickest lap time anyway but it would have been a banker and that was my aim -- to put a banker in and then go obviously full attack for the last lap,” said Schumacher of the incident.
(Editing by Ken Ferris
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