After the race the Mercedes team had this to say
We have made good progress with our technical package this weekend, but P9 is not the best that we could have achieved today. At the end of Q2, I was in fifth place, but on my final lap in Q3, the track was wet in turn 15 and I just couldn’t improve in that final sector. With the pace of the car, hopefully we can make up some places in the race tomorrow.
"Owing to the uncertain weather situation, and in order to not risk driving in the rain, we went out rather early, which simply turned out to be too early. On my last lap, the tyres were unfortunately already gone and, especially in turn six, I suffered understeer which cost me the time to make it into the top ten." Although he had lost running time during P3 through a technical problem, he was quick to stress this was not the cause of his difficulties. "It did not have anything to do with the gearbox issue we experienced this morning. Let’s see what can be possible now coming from P13 and having some fresh tyres available - maybe some rain could help."
"The team had very limited dry running with our new aerodynamic package, as well as having to come to terms with the change in engine strategies." He conceded it had been "a patchy qualifying session during which we didn't catch the track at the right times," explaining that "today was the first step in utilising the new exhaust designs and technologies, and we are still finding our way.”
Nico posted his fastest Q3 time on a set of used option tyres which had completed an out-lap earlier in the session. He was considerably quicker with his new options in the first two sectors of his final attempt. His two split times were good enough to suggest he could have finished P5, but he had to abort the lap in the last sector because of rain. Michael missed out on Q3 by less than a tenth of a second. Starting from ninth and 13th places on the grid, we did not achieve the maximum possible today, but nevertheless we will fight for better results tomorrow.