Nico Rosberg has backed his Mercedes GP team-mate Michael Schumacher after the seven-time championship admitted he is missing some of the enjoyment of the sport.

A tough outing in Turkey saw Schumacher finish outside the points after a tangle in the early stages of the race with the Renault of Vitaly Petrov, admitting that the 'big joy isn't there right now' following the Istanbul event.

It has led to further talk that Schumacher could decide to retire from the sport for a second time [See separate story HERE] but Rosberg has given his backing to the 42-year-old and insisted he has to work hard to stay ahead of the most experienced driver in the history of the sport.

Related Articles

"He is and remains the most successful racing driver of all time," he told Auto Motor und Sport. "It is still very difficult to be faster than him and I must work hard in every session. Everything needs to fit together for me to stay ahead.

"I'm happy that it has worked well for me against him so far, but I also know that at the next race it may be difficult."

That next race will be in Barcelona this weekend and Rosberg said there was still plenty of work for Mercedes to do despite his brace of fifth place finishes in China and Turkey.

"Our upward trend is clear for all to see, even though we still have a little more progress to make in race configuration compared to qualifying," he said. "I'm looking forward to Barcelona, where we will also be introducing an update package for the car, and I'm excited to see how it works. We showed a good level of performance at the final winter test on this circuit, and hopefully we can translate that into a strong result this weekend."