Nico Rosberg was encouraged by the pace of his Mercedes during practice on Friday for the 2012 F1 Indian Grand Prix.

Mercedes have struggled in recent races, but Rosberg believes they will be closer to the top teams this weekend at the Buddh International Circuit, although he is not expecting to maintain fourth position, which is where he finished up overall on the combined times following FP2, his best lap a 1 minute 27.022 seconds.

"We learned a lot in the two practice sessions today and found some good set-up directions, so it was a decent day. Fourth place is not our realistic position at the moment but I am confident that we're looking a little better here than at the previous two races," Rosberg confirmed.

Mercedes boss Norbert Haug shared that sense of optimism: "A positive first day for our team. It would be wrong to read too much into Nico's position in the second session but all in all this was a better Friday for us than we had during the last couple of races," he added.

Michael Schumacher meanwhile wasn't quite so upbeat and having been eighth fastest in FP1, while Rosberg was sixth, the 43-year-old veteran could manage only the 13th best in FP2 - his quickest effort a 1m 28.222s, more than a second off the sister car.

"We had two sessions today where we worked mainly on long runs and the performance was reasonable by the end of the day," said Schumacher. "The car balance was okay, particularly in the first sector with the slower corners, and as such confirmed the performance that we expected from the circuit characteristics.

"With the soft tyres, I didn't really get a lap together, but we managed to build a basis to work on for the rest of the weekend."

"We've had a very solid day's work here today and completed our planned programme," summarised Mercedes team principal, Ross Brawn.

"Our focus was on getting the car balanced which went pretty well over the two sessions. The tyres are very consistent here and, whilst there are still improvements to make to the car, we're looking in reasonable shape for the rest of the weekend here."