Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn has warned its rivals to expect another strong performance from both Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher after a promising free practice display in Bahrain.
Although Schumacher was forced to retire in last weekend's Chinese round, Rosberg dominated both qualifying and the race, claiming a maiden pole position and victory and arrived in Sakhir on a high. His confidence was clear as he topped the second free practice times, and thus the overall order, and Brawn admitted that he was more optimistic of a successful weekend than he had been when leaving Shanghai, when he feared that the higher desert temperatures would see the return of the W03's tyre woes.
"The car wasn't perfect in the morning, [but] the engineers and drivers did a great job over lunchtime [and] found some things which improved it," Brawn told Sky Sports F1
, "I think it's the type of track which suits our car at the moment. We know where our strengths and our weakness are - we're perhaps better in the lower-speed stuff, not so good in the high-speed stuff, so it's a good track for us, as was China."
Allowing himself a smile when told that neither Red Bull or McLaren believed they could have matched Rosberg's FP2 pace, Brawn admitted that, while this weekend may be another good one for Mercedes, it did not follow that those to come would see the Silver Arrows remain on top.
"You saw in qualifying in Melbourne and Malaysia that we were reasonably strong, and the thing is that we've learned how to use this car, how to get the best out of it," he noted, "China was the first measure of putting together a whole race weekend properly. I don't think it's a flash in the pan.
"[However], our objectives over the next few races is to try and improve the high-speed stuff so that, when we get to Barcelona and tracks like that, we're not disadvantaged," he noted, "But the [Bahrain] track suits us. It seems to suit the drivers, they like it here, and importantly we're going to get consistent conditions over the three days. The relative conditions are going to be fairly consistent, so the work we did today, the work we do tomorrow will be relevant for Sunday."