Michael Schumacher enjoyed a 'promising' start to the Australian Grand Prix weekend today - although he added with the weather conditions so mixed in practice, he wouldn't say he was 'confident'.

The German set the pace this afternoon in second practice in his Mercedes F1 W03 and he finished the day third overall on the timesheets, just behind the McLaren's of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.

"Today was a nice start into a hopefully exciting season, and certainly two promising sessions for us. However, I would not go so far as to speak about being confident, as the weather conditions were too mixed to gain a clear picture," he confirmed.

"We know what Friday sessions are for and don't know what fuel loads others were running. On the other hand, it is good to see that we were competitive in different circumstances today and that the car provides good handling - I just feel it."

Nico Rosberg meanwhile was sixth quickest in FP1 and ninth in FP2. He finished the day sixth overall, on a 1m 28.683s.

"I'm pleased with the start to our weekend today in these mixed conditions. We learned a lot for the race here in Melbourne over the two sessions, so it was a very productive day," Rosberg continued. "I feel very comfortable in the car which is the most important thing for me today. So all went well and we had no surprises, however to find out where we really are compared to the others was impossible in these conditions. So I'm really looking forward to the next two days here."

"It's obviously been a patchy day with the weather conditions, however we have achieved a reasonable amount of work on varying fuel levels," summarised team principal, Ross Brawn. "Whilst the overall picture is still not clear, Michael and Nico seem quite happy with the cars at the end of today's two practice sessions.

"Tomorrow should see a dry morning, and we will start to get a better perspective. Everything ran smoothly today which is a tribute to the team, and everyone at our factories in Brackley and Brixworth has done a very good job to prepare for this first race. So far at least, it's going well."


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