Fry warns rivals: Don’t underestimate Merc or Michael

Anyone who has counted Mercedes out already is “fairly foolish,” Nick Fry says in an Q and A with Autosport.

He also has this message about Michael Schumacher: “He has taken away the positives again and I would not underestimate him.”

Despite that bravado, Fry does admit “the car is not as quick as we would like, and we did the best result we could of in Malaysia.”

Fry also has applauds Nico Rosberg’s efforts thus far this year:

My personal verdict on Nico is that he is doing exactly as I expected. He was the first into the frame, ahead of Michael [Schumacher] and Nick [Heidfeld] because Ross and I thought he was a brilliant driver. That was before Mercedes came on the scene, and he is just confirming what we thought. I know others in the paddock were not so convinced, but I think even they must be convinced he is the real deal now. It was a very solid performance all weekend in Malaysia and all year so far. He is very assured, very confident of himself and he has done some great qualifying as well – which augers very well for the future.

Part of his answers that is getting a bit of media coverage is this on Schumacher:

Michael is, for me, quite remarkable. Even this weekend, the level of feedback that he gives is something that I have never seen before – and that is just not in the debriefs. When you have the headphones on you hear amazing things – and in qualifying he was driving around almost giving a commentary. The FIA, who also listens, was also very impressed that a driver can do that.

It’s probably just me, but I sort of feel like the undercurrent to this: Yeah, Fernando, you drove without a clutch? Well, can you focus this well?

Here’s the money quote; whether the team can live up to it, well, we’ll see:

I think we’ve got an extremely strong team, and anyone who underestimates us is fairly foolish. We’ve got excellent people. I would say we still have the best technical leader in Ross, we have the best manufacturer and engine provider in F1, and we have two phenomenal drivers. All of that means that we are going to be strong, and we have the tools in terms of the money to do a very good job. I am very optimistic. We will be strong this year. Whether we can win it, who knows, but I think we will be there or thereabout.

Did anyone see anything special from Mercedes in Malaysia? Nico Rosberg did get the podium spot, but I’m not sure I was struck by Schumacher in any special way. Maybe I missed something?

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