Nico Rosberg says he thinks the rest of the field will be battling for third place in India this weekend after Red Bull topped the times in Friday practice at the Buddh International circuit.

Sebastian Vettel was three-tenths clear of team-mate Mark Webber following the two sessions with the Lotus of Romain Grosjean being the only other car able to lap within half a second of the outright pace.

Rosberg was sixth quickest but eight tenths of a second off the pace, with the German insisting there was a lot of work still to be done.

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"That was quite a tough day for us," he said. "We learned a lot but still have a lot of work ahead tonight so that I can find the best set-up.

"Generally, it seems that the main question this weekend is who can get third position behind the two Red Bulls, because they look pretty unstoppable at this circuit. But I'm confident we will have a role to play in that battle tomorrow and on Sunday."

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff agreed that the opening day of running wasn't perfect in terms of pace, but said there was plenty of information for the engineers to now work with to chase improvements for the weekend.

"Friday times are always hard to read because of the different fuel loads that teams run, so trying to predict the exact competitive order is more like gazing into a crystal ball than anything else," he said. "We didn't have a perfect day when you compare our pace to that of Red Bull but we put in 120 laps so there's lots of information the engineers will be working through tonight.

"I am sure it will be a close fight with our direct rivals Lotus and Ferrari, as it has been at recent race weekends. We all know how important it is to extract the full potential of our package tomorrow and most importantly on Sunday."