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Mercedes capable of Melbourne podium, claims Nico

Nico Rosberg is confident that the Mercedes team could claim its first podium of the 2010 season in Australia next weekend.

Nico Rosberg has suggested that one or other of the Mercedes GP Petronas drivers could make it into the top three at next weekend's Australian Grand Prix, claiming that the Albert Park circuit will be better suited to the W01 than Bahrain.

Although both Rosberg and team-mate Michael Schumacher were able to run ahead of - and fend off - McLaren entries in the desert, neither had enough to challenge either Red Bull or eventual winners Ferrari, and had to settle for fifth and sixth respectively after the younger German saw his crew outfumbled by Lewis Hamilton's during the decisive pit-stop phase.

Despite the frustration at seeing a potential podium go astray as Hamilton went on to catch and pass the ailing Sebastian Vettel, Rosberg remains confident that he and Schumacher can challenge for the top three in Melbourne.

"The track is better suited to us than Bahrain," the 24-year old told Germany's Bild, "We want our first podium and, while] I do not think that we will both be on the podium, one of us could do it.

"I am happy that I came to the finish line ahead of Michael [in Bahrain] as it is important to beat your team-mate because he's driving the same car as you. But this is a super-duel between us that will get even tougher."

Rosberg has generally enjoyed his trips 'down under' and is confident that can score a strong result for his new team after four previous visits with Williams.

"The Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne has always been a successful race for me, as I have been in the points for my last three races and had my first podium finish there in 2008, when I finished third," he noted, "The Albert Park street circuit is exciting, and quite a challenging track as the public roads are always dirty to begin with and there are a lot of bumps to negotiate."

If the German is to achieve a return trip to the podium, however, Mercedes will have to raise the performance of its first bespoke car since before the inception of the current world championship in 1950.

"The team did a good job in Bahrain, but we accept that we were not competitive enough and that we have work to do to close the gap to the leaders," team principal Ross Brawn conceded, "I was very pleased with the performance of Nico and Michael, and the way that they worked together to provide clear and consistent feedback to develop the car over the weekend, but, whilst our car is fundamentally strong, we have a development plan in place for the next few races which should bring the required performance improvements to compete at the front."



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Powerline 2008 - Unregistered

March 20, 2010 8:40 AM

Don't bet on it. The Aussie circuit is tight & narrow. Overtaking will be tough for a car with a full tank of fuel. You'll probably see the same cars from the start to the finish in the same position. It's going to be another bored fest.

Commodore S - Unregistered

March 20, 2010 9:56 AM

Albert Park is a different kettle of fish when compared with Bahrain. Whilst being a street circuit it has flow with overtaking opportunities. Another thing with Albert Park the D.D will not be a major player. It is a circuit that relies more upon Mechanical Grip in lieu of Aero. However Powerline 2008 with full fuel tanks your thoughts may well be true. I can see brakes being a major issue together with tyres. If Ferrari is sufferring overheating issues this will test. Well it should leave us with a comparison between a circuit such as Bahrain with open space compared to a circuit which is vitually enclosed with concrete boundaries. Their is no room for error and is a drivers circuit.



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