Despite the euphoria of clinching his first pole position in 111 F1 appearances, Nico Rosberg is far from confident when it comes to predicting his fortunes on raceday.

The German blew his opposition away in Saturday's timed session, needing just one flying lap to put an insurmountable half-second margin between himself and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, but, with question marks still hanging over Mercedes' race pace, he wasn't about to view winning as a formality. Mercedes has just a single point to show for its efforts from the opening two rounds, with both Rosberg and Schumacher running into misfortune in both Australia and Malaysia, and will not benefit as much from its controversial DRS system as it does with unlimited use in qualifying.

"The track was cooling off a little bit, the temperatures were coming down slightly and so the rear tyres started to work a little bit better," he said of his qualifying effort, "We changed the set-up of the car slightly before the last run and just got a perfect lap, so it worked out really, really well.

"Now, I'm obviously looking forward to starting first tomorrow but, of course, it's pretty clear that, in the race, we been not quite as good as in qualifying lately. For me, it's sort of the start of the season now because the first two races haven't gone too well. We've worked very hard to try and improve [the car], but it's not something you can change in a few weeks. It's going to take some time, but we're making good progress in the race, and that's important.

"[Pole] really shows that, as a team, we're moving forward. In qualifying, we're very, very strong now. In the race, we're still not quite as strong and not where we want to be yet, but we're learning a lot and progressing fast. The thing is we can't make huge jumps in a couple of weeks, it's going to take a bit more time, but we're getting there.

"It's difficult to know exactly where we're going to be tomorrow because, again, with the conditions changing, if it becomes a little bit colder, that might help us. I don't really know how it's going to go. For sure, we're going to try our best. We're going to work hard tonight to try and do the final little details on the set-up, electronically specifically, and make the most of it.

Temperatures have fluctuated throughout the weekend, with Friday's practice sessions being run in decidedly chilly conditions before it got warmer on Saturday. Even then, however, the temperature dropped by a full five degrees between the start and finish of qualifying, something which Rosberg admitted probably helped his caused even more.

"The temperature coming down at the end just helped the rear tyres a little bit," he explained, "I had no idea if the track got a lot better [while sitting out the remainder of qualifying] or what was going on out there, so I was just hoping, 'come on, let that be enough, please'.

"We're depending on that a lot for tomorrow, as how the conditions are can change things a lot for us. Saving a set [of tyres] is very good for the race, so we took the decision to go for that, because the race is where the points are. It was strange because I was standing there on my own and everybody else was still going round, but I couldn't do anything any more

"It's difficult to know really how well we're going to go tomorrow. It's difficult to foresee our performance compared to the other top teams. We just need to wait. We're in a good position now, we've done our homework over the last couple of days, we've optimised what we have with the knowledge that we have. Of course, we're still learning a lot with the car, a lot of things are different, but we will see."

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