A DRS problem was to blame for Michael Schumacher qualifying 18th on the grid at the Bahrain Grand Prix, according to Mercedes.

14338 - Schumacher blames DRS for poor qualifying

Schumacher dropped out of qualifying in Q1 after his initial time set on medium tyres was beaten at the very end of the session by Heikki Kovalainen's Caterham. Schumacher was attempting to qualify for Q2 without using soft tyres when his DRS failed on his fast lap, limiting his top speed on the long straights in the final sector.

"I am obviously very disappointed to have qualified in 18th position on the grid for a race which looks to be quite competitive for us," he said. "Unfortunately on my fast lap, which was looking quite good, my DRS broke in the last sector."

Schumacher explained that the team tried to fix the problem rather than going out on soft tyres to try to compensate for the lack of DRS.

"We tried to fix it in the garage but were not able to go out again," he added. "Trying for a lap without DRS on different tyres would not have made sense. We now have to try to see what we can do from here and push as much as possible."

Team principal Ross Brawn added: "Michael experienced a failure of the DRS rear wing flap, just before he entered the back straight on what would have been his quickest lap. This cost him around half a second, and with little more than a second separating the top 17 cars in Q1, that proved decisive. Unfortunately, we were unable to repair the system in time for him to run again, and he was bumped down to P18 at the very last moment."