Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg are continuing to keep their expectations fairly low heading into the remainder of the Australian Grand Prix weekend despite a relatively competitive showing during free practice.

In what was only the third day of mileage for the Mercedes-powered VJM08 following its late unveiling in pre-season testing, Hulkenberg broke into the top ten during FP2, while both drivers suffered fairly trouble-free sessions.

Despite this, both drivers predict a particularly tough qualifying as they struggle to hone the car's single lap pace, even if they feel more confident in its race potential.

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"We are not where we are hoping to be and it is looking to be a very tough Saturday and also Sunday," said Sergio Perez. "We don't have the weapon to fight for points at the moment, but we will look in other ways and we will try to find some pace in the car to try and improve."

"I think one lap pace is not outstanding but we knew that coming here," added Hulkenberg. "Long run pace looks better but the competition looks quite quick. We have done some long runs now but I expect a tough and difficult race."