Nico Rosberg says that he is looking forward to spending more time with Mercedes' new W06 Hybrid after a promising first day of testing at Jerez.
The German was charged with giving the world champion's title defender its first real run after a shake-down at a snowy Silverstone last week, and completed a record 156 laps of the Spanish circuit on a largely trouble-free day for the Brackley-based squad.
Holding down top spot early on, Rosberg was eventually demoted to third fastest overall by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Sauber recruit Marcus Ericsson, but acknowledged that the teams' differing programmes meant that little could be drawn from the timesheets.
“The goal from the beginning was to do a lot of mileage and, from that point of view, it was a good day,” he revealed, “You have to do the miles because, at the end, that's when you see where the problems are with the car. The good thing is that we haven't found any major problems yet.
“Reliability is very important for us, because that was one of the weaknesses - maybe the main weakness - of last year, so it's very important for us to nail that and we need to use this opportunity in testing to find all the problems and try and get on top of them before we get to the first race.”
Asked what he thought of the W06, Rosberg admitted that he had 'a good feeling' about the season ahead, although he could not quantify why.
“There's no reason for it, no numbers for it, today it's just feeling, and I have a good feeling,” he confirmed, “It's been a reliable day, no major problems, and the car balance feels more or less decent. Of course, it's not perfect and there's still some work to do, but I look forward to that work, starting tonight to try and optimise the car and improve it for tomorrow and for my second day.”
Having completed double the laps of his nearest rival in terms of distance covered, Rosberg was also asked whether he felt Mercedes was picking up from where it had left off in 2014, and was already 'ahead of the game' compared to the rest of the pack.
“Ahead of the game, no, but we got off to a good start for ourselves,” he insisted, “We're not comparing with anybody else because it's not possible to compare at the moment. We can only judge by what we wanted to achieve today and we managed to achieve that - the laps we wanted to do, the pit-stop practice at the end. For us, that was a good start.”
Indeed, it seems that the only problems last year's championship runner-up came across were personal, admitting that he felt rusty after several weeks out of the cockpit…
“Of course, I am feeling a little pain here and there because, on the first day, the body is not used to it, and it was many, many laps,” he conceded, “My neck? Yes, I can feel it....!”