Bahrain Grand Prix polewinner Nico Rosberg knows that he has only done half the job he needs to do to retain his F1 world championship lead after three rounds.

The German emerged from Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton's shadow to claim pole position under the floodlights at Bahrain International Circuit, but admits that racing in similar conditions on Sunday evening will be a different proposition, particularly in unfamiliar conditions and with an engine beginning its third successive event.

"Starting from pole is obviously a great thing, but it's a whole different story tomorrow," he confirmed, "A different challenge is awaiting us for the race, with tyre degradation the main problem. But I'm confident - I had some good runs yesterday on the high fuel, so I'm confident I can stay ahead in tomorrow's race."

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Hamilton had set the pace in each of the three free practice sessions held before qualifying, but made a mistake at the first corner of his final flying lap in the crucial timed session, allowing Rosberg to claim his first pole of the 2014 season. The German insisted that there had been no problem keeping up with his team-mate earlier in the weekend, and was delighted to have emerged on top when it mattered.

"We just worked well through the weekend, finding our way, progressing, getting around some issues and finding the right set-up and things like that," he reported, "The challenge this weekend is that the free practice sessions were in such hot conditions and it's very difficult [carrying the data into qualifying]. You have to guess what the best set-up is and what the car is going to be like in the colder conditions later in the evening. But it worked out well and I was feeling comfortable - I got my laps together and I'm very happy. It's great to start from pole."

The BIC has always been kind to Rosberg, who also qualified on pole position for the 2013 grand prix, and he will be hoping to add to his achievements on Sunday.

"I have very good memories from this track - winning the GP2 championship here and also my first race in F1," he noted, "I've always liked it and enjoy coming here - and again today it suited me."