Nico Rosberg has revealed that Mercedes wasn't able to completely maximise its car on Friday during opening practice for the 2014 F1 Malaysian Grand Prix, although it was still good enough to put the German top of the times – albeit by only 0.035 seconds.
Rosberg finished the opening session at the Sepang International Circuit in P3, 0.337 seconds off team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, who set the pace. However, in FP2, the 28-year-old came to the fore and posted a 1m 39.909s lap.
“Conditions out there are very, very hot,” Rosberg told reporters in Malaysia, including Crash.net
. “It is tough for the car and tough for the tyres too. We never expected so much tyre degradation – all the tyres are fully on the edge. It is a big challenge and tough to manage. There will be lots of different strategies [on Sunday].”
“It's been a good day though,” he added. “We are really focused and trying to get the best out of the car. We are not taking anything for granted, however, as the opposition is really close. It is a totally different situation here [to Australia] – everything is different, the tyres, the temperatures and the humidity. We need to be careful and maximise everything. We are having some issues here and there.
“We don't know how it is going to be yet.”
Asked about fight with Hamilton, he replied: “Definitely it will be close [between Lewis and I]. It will always be close.
“I just need to try and stay ahead.”