Nico Rosberg says it is still too early to make any conclusions after he maintained his perfect start to the season by taking his third victory of the year in the Chinese Grand Prix.
The victory - his sixth in a row if you include the three he took at the end of 2015 – extends his early lead in the Drivers' Championship to a mammoth 36 points, but the German remains cautious and believes the battle with team-mate Lewis Hamilton will continue to be as “big” as always.
Asked if he is now at the peak of his career following his dominant win in Shanghai, he replied: “It is too early to make any summaries. It is three races now and they have gone well for me but it is the longest season in F1 history with 21 races, 18 to go. It makes no sense to make any conclusions even if the start is good or bad.
“I am happy with the way it has gone and I am feeling good and the car is there. I can't say more than that. We will see. Lewis is not many points behind, 30 or so points, it is not much – it is a race and a bit. He is as focused and motivated as ever, he will never give up, he is the benchmark and he has been for the last years.
“The battle will be a big battle as always.”
Pressed on if he can now consolidate his lead in the Championship, he added: “What we take away is that we are still the quickest car out there at the moment, but really Ferrari haven't shown what they can do.
“They have had so many issues in the first three races, so we need to keep on it and keep pushing because I think they are closer than they have shown. We will push and I am looking forward to the next races and I think we will go there well.”
Rosberg's only real difficulty was at the start, when he was passed by Daniel Ricciardo, although the Australian's stint at the top was soon halted when he picked up a puncture a result of the first lap melee.
“The start wasn't too bad but Daniel got an even better one,” Rosberg continued. “After that I was a lot quicker but when the super-soft tyres began to degrade and I could then just fly past them because I didn't expect it to be that easy at the beginning. After that I was just pushing to get the best gap that I could and I am glad it worked out so well.
“I am happy with the day, it was a great weekend in China, it's a special place for me, first pole and first win here. It was a pleasure to drive out there. Seldom do you have such a great time in a race. The car, the strategy, the balance was great, so it was a great weekend for me.
“We are going to party now in the garage. That is going to be great fun because everybody in the team deserves it so much and then straight back home to my family.
"I can't wait to see them.”