Nico Rosberg believes that Mercedes is on the 'right track' following practice for the European Grand Prix today at Valencia in Spain.

Rosberg was quickest in the opening session and while he was unable to hang onto that position in free practice two, he was still very competitive and finished the day fourth overall, on a 1 minute 39.650 seconds. That left him just under four tenths off the pace and a tenth up on McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who was fifth.

Although he had some tyre problems this morning, the German was not overly concerned and felt that the tweaks made to the MGP W01 since Canada were definitely a step in the right direction as the Brackley-based outfit looks to close up on the likes of McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari.

"We've had a productive day and I am feeling comfortable in the car although the tyres were a challenge again with graining and various issues," Rosberg stated. "The option didn't seem to work well but it was the same for everyone and we made the most of it.

"The team has done a good job on our upgrades and I'm sure that they have improved our competitiveness. We have a few bits and pieces to resolve overnight but we are on the right track which is nice to see. We know that our race pace is better than our qualifying performance at the moment so if we can get our qualifying right, we should make good progress this weekend."

Mercedes GP team principal, Ross Brawn and Norbert Haug meanwhile were also both encouraged by the pace of the MGP W01, even if Michael Schumacher wasn't quite so competitive in the sister car.

"We had a great deal of work to achieve today with our new developments and it was essential that the cars ran reliably to give us as much track time as possible. Therefore I'm very pleased that this was the case and we have been able to carry out our planned programme," Brawn noted.

"It's a good start to the weekend but as always, there is a long way to go and we have a few issues to get to grips with overnight before qualifying. From our experiences in Canada, we know that we have to qualify well to avoid compromising our race performance so that will be the focus of our attention this evening and tomorrow morning."

Haug added: "Today was not a bad start to the weekend with our heavily upgraded car which the team has worked very hard on over the last couple of weeks. I would really like to thank them for their relentless efforts.

"With low fuel, our lap times could have been quicker today however Nico and Michael both had traffic on their fastest laps, as happened to other drivers. Our lap times in race trim with very heavy fuel loads have been quick and consistent today. If everything comes together as planned, Nico and Michael will be able to show in qualifying and on Sunday during the race that we have made a step forward."