Nico Rosberg has revealed his conviction that his luck will finally change in Bahrain this weekend and deliver Williams 'the points that the car is worth' after a trio of Formula 1 outings in 2009 that have flattered only ultimately to deceive – and topping the times in Friday practice, he acknowledged, was not a bad way to begin.
Of the eleven practice sessions to-date this season, the young German has now shown his rivals a clean pair of heels on no fewer than seven occasions. Moreover, he has never qualified lower than seventh and even led the opening 15 laps in Sepang. And his reward for all of that? A paltry three-and-a-half points...
The inaugural GP2 Series Champion is well aware that Williams is letting valuable opportunities pass it by, particularly as other teams begin to catch up on the 'double-decker' diffuser front. The run of strategic blunders, a race day drop-off in form and sheer ill-fortune has to stop, he insists – and it has to stop now.
“You can only ever compare your performance to other race weekends,” the 23-year-old stated, after lapping fourth-quickest in the morning in the desert kingdom and fastest outright in the afternoon, more than two tenths of a second clear of his nearest challenger, Renault's Fernando Alonso. “Relatively, I think we are looking okay. We've done a lot of set-up work today and I am quite happy with everything, so we've made good progress.
“The team brought some new parts to Bahrain and they seem to be working well, so thanks to our aero guys for their continuing hard work in developing the car. I am really convinced that we will be able to do something positive at this race – and get the points that the car is worth.”
Following a promising start to his sophomore campaign in the top flight, Kazuki Nakajima has struggled to keep pace with Rosberg of late, and the situation in Sakhir appears to be little different, with the Japanese ace – lacking the new aerodynamic parts his team-mate is running this weekend – languishing back in eleventh place at the close of Friday proceedings, more than half a second adrift of the sister FW31.
“Today didn't go too badly, but we are lacking some pace compared to Nico,” the 24-year-old acknowledged. “I'll now de-brief with my engineers to try to find out where I'm losing that time so I can make it up in tomorrow's qualifying. The circuit is getting better and better the more laps we do, which is good. It's also really hot out there, but fortunately it's bearable.”