Nico Rosberg has played down the importance of qualifying on pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix, even if he admits he would like to reclaim his edge over Lewis Hamilton on a single lap

Fastest on the first day of free practice around the Bahrain International Circuit, Rosberg comes into the weekend looking to halt a run of Saturday form that has seen Hamilton qualify on pole for the three opening races of the 2015 season.

Indeed, having been the stronger of the two Mercedes driver in qualifying last season, Rosberg says any advantage over his team-mate would be beneficial, though he says the overtaking opportunities in Bahrain makes qualifying less imperative.

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"The race is where it is going to be decided. Here you can overtake on this track, so you've got to have the race set-up nailed.

"Qualifying is always important, especially in the battle between Lewis and I because it's so close. It makes a big difference if you get away and get to Turn 1 first, but here you can also manage if you are second. Maybe it's not that important here, but still it's always better to be first rather than second."