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Mercedes mystified by lack of pace

Photo by Daimler AGMercedes-Benz were once again left feeling mystified by their lack of pace in qualifying, after the top Mercedes pilot qualified in just 13th for the final race of the 2013 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters season.

Canadian Robert Wickens was the top Mercedes driver in 13th, meaning that no drivers from the Silver Arrows made it through to Q3 for the third time this season and the second meeting in a row.

“Our grid positions are disappointing in view of our aspirations,” said Wolfgang Schattling, Head of DTM Management. “Our performance in qualifying at previous race weekends has not lived up to expectations and we will have to find out the cause during the winter months.”

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Both team and drivers are hoping for Sunday’s forecast rain to play to their advantage, as it has done previously in the current season.

“We are not prepared to give up yet,” added Schattling. “On Sunday, we will still aim to achieve a respectable result for our fans and Mercedes staff here at our home race at Hockenheim. Maybe the weather will play into our hands.”

Mercedes’ rookie Pascal Wehrlein, who qualified in 15th as one of only three Mercedes drivers to make it through to Q2, admitted that he is hoping for rain on raceday in order to level the playing field.

“Even this morning’s practice session did not go perfectly as it should and, unfortunately, nothing changed in the qualifying,” explained Wehrlein. “We don’t know as yet what’s behind it, but we hope now to have a good pace in the race again and that we can move forwards up the field.

“If the rain that is forecast actually arrives, then the field will be wide open anyway. We also need to make sure we have a good strategy, get through the first lap really well and then overtake.”

A frustrated Gary Paffett added: “It’s hard to say exactly what it is, but the bottom line is that we just don’t have the speed.”

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