Nico Rosberg has played down suggestions that not having won a grand prix will continue to be a handicap as he seeks to gain the upper hand in the Mercedes team, and admits that he is happy with the way he has handled team-mate Michael Schumacher so far this season.

Speaking to the official F1 website, the young German reflected on team principal Ross Brawn's pre-season assessment of his experience, and the fact that he had not won a race in three seasons in the top flight with Williams, but insisted that, not only was he unconcerned about not having made the breakthrough, he felt that he would join the elite club of F1 winners in due course.

"I understand why [Brawn] said that in the first place, because the first win is always a sort of breakthrough, but, on the other hand, I don't think that it makes such a big difference," he claimed, "It's just a step in a career and, to be fair, our car is not a winning car at the moment. In Monaco, I think we were the closest we've been to having a winning car, but the Red Bulls again were faster. However, my gut feeling is that we will be there very soon. We are working in the right direction and it is just a matter of time."

Rosberg finished fifth in last year's Turkish Grand Prix, exceeding expectations for the Williams team, and enjoys the challenge of racing at the Istanbul Park circuit. With the Mercedes now equipped with the team's latest version of the controversial F-duct, he remains confident of being a threat for the podium on raceday.

"Last year was really good for me - I was fourth before losing that position to [Jarno] Trulli in the pits," he reflected, "We have brought some new developments, notably the new F-duct, but everybody has that now, not only us, so it is difficult to say what will happen on Sunday afternoon. [In Friday practice], the feeling was quite positive and, with more mileage in practice three, we should be able to wrap-up a good lap in qualifying and have a good race."

The inaugural GP2 Series champion also played down suggestions that, despite his own strong start to the season, the Mercedes team was starting to develop the WO1 towards team-mate Schumacher's driving style.

"Ross is absolutely right about that," he said, referring to Brawn's recent denials on the same subject, "It is not possible to build a car around Michael and, if it was true, it would benefit me as well, but a rumour in the media is very difficult to stop.

"I am very involved with the car in general, so we often communicate with Michael at the meetings, debriefs and all that - and Ross as well. He is a very typical, honest English person to whom it is important to have things in balance. Yes, he has a good relationship with Michael and likes him a lot, but I think I have built a relationship with him too over the last couple of months, so I would say that we three work very well together."

The media has become a more intrusive part of life in F1 for Rosberg this season, with the German press in particular hanging on every word that comes out of Brackley in the hope of detecting a rift between the team-mates.

"It was very clear from the beginning that the media would sneak around and give weight to every word," the youngster admitted, "They were very excited when Michael was angry in Monaco in qualifying but, at the moment, there are no problems whatsoever - and I don't think one will come.

"Sure, I have to watch what I say much more carefully than when I was racing with Williams. It is quite a change, but I have learned that lesson to a certain degree since being in F1. This year, it's just a bit more [and] you have to be careful, for sure, but I also understand the media. It's their job to get the best possible story."

The press have been especially keen to detect problems stemming from the fact that Schumacher has taken time to readjust to the rigours of life in F1 after returning from a three-year lay-off, with Rosberg currently enjoying the confidence boost that comes from holding a 34-point advantage over the seven-time champion, having twice appeared on the podium in 2010.

"I came into the team when the idea of Michael joining hadn't been considered," he reminded, "I was prepared to race with Jenson Button - the reigning world champion - and, when it became clear that Michael would come out of retirement, I felt very fortunate to have him as a team-mate.

"It is such an interesting experience but, at the same time, you start to have some doubts, because you've heard so many bad things about this person. For a moment, you start to think 'whoa!', but it turned out that it is not true what everybody says, and the situation is a good one for me.

"[Leading Schumacher is] a nice position to be in, knowing that I've handled my team-mate - for now. But that's not the priority. We want to be in front with the car and not having a team-mate race. We are racing as a team, on an equal level, and we are in that mode for the whole year. It probably has consequences for me as I feel that my position in the team has grown, and that is important for me. Obviously, starting the season alongside Michael Schumacher, and still having a strong standing in the team, is great to see."


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