Nico Rosberg finished qualifying less than a tenth of a second behind polesitter Sebastian Vettel, but despite pushing the Red Bull driver very close Rosberg still felt that when it came to the race, Vettel would be almost impossible to beat.

"I doubt if we have enough performance to beat Sebastian but I'll do my best to have a good start and then we'll see how it goes from there," Rosberg said after qualifying. "If I can get by then it's possible that I can stay in front..."

Not that he was feeling at all down about how the race weekend had gone up to this point - quite the contrary.

"We've had a really good weekend so far and have been able to improve the car from session to session with some great work from my engineers and mechanics so my thanks to them," he said. "Our race pace was strong on Friday so I'm feeling quite confident for tomorrow evening.

"It was so close to beating Sebastian to pole this evening but I'm still really happy to have achieved second place," he added. "It's so important to start from the front here so we are in a very good position for the race."

Team principal Ross Brawn certainly wasn't giving up on their chances of claiming a win on Sunday, although he admitted that Mercedes needed it to be more than just a straight race-long fight if they were to triumph over the world championships.

"I think there will be a lot of opportunities that come our way," Brawn said. "Red Bull looked extremely fast in Friday practice but strategy will play a big part in the race and it's quite likely we could see the front-running cars making different tyre choices after their opening stints on the option tyres."

Mercedes' director of motorsports, Toto Wolff, pointed out some other scenarios that might contributed to an upset on Sunday: "The start will give us a chance to make up places and the Safety Car has played a role in every race in Singapore so far, which again could open up more opportunities for us," he said.

Meanwhile Rosberg's team mate Lewis Hamilton will have to fight his way up from fifth on the grid if he's to claim a podium at Marina Bay. The Briton certainly wasn't feeling very happy after his qualifying session.

"Qualifying didn't quite come together for me this evening," he admitted. "I tried my best out there but I just didn't have a great feeling in the car and ultimately I wasn't fast enough.

"Clearly the car was quicker than what I was able to get out of it tonight," he said. "It's frustrating not to have qualified closer to the front as Nico did. So not a good day for me but that's life. We'll turn today's negative into a positive overnight and I'll be pushing as hard as I can in the race tomorrow.

"There are still people ahead of me that we can beat and our target will be to get on the podium, that would be amazing," he added.

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