Nico Rosberg says pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix will be more important than he expected after Pirelli's tyres didn't show the anticipated level of degradation during Thursday practice.
With the super soft tyres making their first appearance in a race weekend, questions had been raised about how the rubber would perform around the streets – with some predicting that the tyres might not last longer than ten laps before going off.
However, with the performance of the tyres being better than expected, Rosberg said that the pole position for the race will be more important than he thought with tyre degradation likely to play less of a role in the race.
"It's great to be on the track again here in Monaco,' the Mercedes driver said after posting the third fastest time in Thursday practice. “I felt very comfortable from the beginning and we did quite a good job on the set-up. It can be difficult here to find the right settings as you have to put a lot of things together such as brake balance and tyre degradation, but we had a decent day and I'm happy with our start into the weekend.
“The tyres are not as bad as we expected and the degradation will be quite low, so pole position will be a bit more important than I expected before today."
While Rosberg impressed towards the head of the field, team-mate Michael Schumacher endured a more troubled day after going off into the tyres at St Devote during the first session.
He rebounded to finish seventh after FP2 and said he was encouraged by the one-lap pace shown by Rosberg on track.
"Our gap to the front seems to be less here than in Barcelona,” he said. “With my crash this morning, we had made a set-up change for the run and I locked up braking for turn one. After that, my decision to go down the escape road was too late, which is why I hit the barrier.
“The mechanics did a super job and the car this afternoon was just as quick as this morning. What Nico showed in terms of one-lap pace looks good, and our long runs were also quite reasonable.”