VALENCIA, Spain, June 25, 2011 (AFP) - Michael Schumacher said he felt his Mercedes car was not quick enough to challenge rival teams after another disappointing performance in qualifying here Saturday for the European Grand Prix.
The 42-year-old will start Sunday's race at the Valencia street circuit in eighth place behind his Mercedes team-mate and fellow German Nico Rosberg.
The seven times champion conceded that he could have performed marginally better, but said it was unrealistic to expect Mercedes to be challenging rivals McLaren and Ferrari.
"I am OK with today's qualifying result which I would say was an average one," said Schumacher. "I might have improved by one place but in the penultimate slow corner, I attacked a bit too early, got oversteer and had to lift for a moment which cost me the place to Nico.
"But all in all, we came in where we had expected to finish. It would be optimistic in my view to expect that we can attack the cars in front of us tomorrow because I think our starting positions realistically reflect where we stand at the moment.
"So let's see how the race develops and what we can make out of it tomorrow."
Rosberg, 24, said he was happy with his performance in qualifying and is hoping to take advantage of an extra set of soft tyres during the race.
He said: "Yesterday was very busy with a lot of set-up changes but the team and I did a decent job today to improve the car, so I'm quite pleased."
"It is difficult out on the track this weekend and we have to be careful of overheating the rear tyres - that will certainly be something to watch out for tomorrow.
"I was able to save one set of soft tyres, by running used options in Q2, and this can be important in the race as we aim to score some nice points. I'm looking forward to it."