Nico Rosberg survived brush with the normally unforgiving Monaco barriers to finish the opening day of the season's blue riband race second fastest behind Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

The story of the German's day, however, was that, on paper, he was still eight-tenths of a second off the pace when rain arrived over the Principality, putting an end to any idea of bolting on Pirelli's supersoft tyre and turning the tables.

"It just wasn't the perfect day today, especially because of the weather I guess," Rosberg admitted, "Nobody really foresaw the weather coming otherwise everyone would have put on the supersoft tyres immediately in P2. It just came as a complete surprise and caught everyone out, but it's the same for everybody. The good thing from today is our car is definitely very quick."

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The German is chasing a rare hat-trick in Monaco, so the deficit to Hamilton came as something of a surprise to everyone but the driver, who insisted that he was far from panicking even though he has yet to sample the latest supersoft rubber.

"I'm not thinking about [the hat-trick] too much, I'm just thinking about taking the win in general but, for sure, it's Monaco and you have to build up to it through Thursday, Saturday and then nail it in qualifying," he explained, "We're pretty confident [the tyre will last] because it did last year and nothing's different. It's more about just getting down to it and doing that great qualifying lap."

Rosberg's progress could have been slower had he not escaped that brush with the wall at Tabac, and the German felt confident enough to be able to laugh the incident off.

"It was a new line I was trying, but the team said to me that it was not sustainable because the car wouldn't make it through the race, so unfortunately I will have to back away from it a bit," he joked.