Nico Rosberg has reminded his supporters not to get too carried away after he set the pace on the opening day of the Singapore Grand Prix, following the meltdown that scuppered the corresponding weekend for Mercedes a year ago.
Even though the Three Pointed Star was the dominant force in 2015, as it is now, Marina Bay proved its undoing, with both Rosberg and team-mate Lewis Hamilton falling well off the pace between Friday practice and Saturday qualifying – a reversal which eventually allowed Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel to leave F1's only true night race with a rare 25-point haul.
Rosberg's latest visit to Singapore did not start well, with a trip into the barriers at turn 18 cutting short his first practice session, but he bounced back to set the pace by three-tenths of a second in the late night outing, overturning the belief that the event might be an Achilles heel for Mercedes.
“It's been okay,” he confirmed, “We know that this is the best track for Red Bull and Ferrari, so we just have to be careful and do the best we can. We shouldn't get ahead of ourselves because, last year on Friday, we looked okay and, on Saturday, we were nowhere, so let's wait and see.
“Of course, we think - more or less - we understand the situation [with Ferrari and Red Bull], but we thought that as well last year. We can see what they were doing and, for sure, they were quick today, both Red Bull and Ferrari, and also in the long runs. We sure have work to do.
“It will definitely be important [to get pole here], even though we've seen in recent races that it's not the most crucial thing. Definitely, that's what I'll try and aim for, and, in the end, we have to concentrate on ourselves and maximise what we've got.”
Asked whether the off in FP1 might have been caused by a failure on the car, Rosberg admitted that it had been entirely down to him, but quickly switched the focus back the battle with Ferrari and Red Bull.
“I just braked too deep and locked up and that's it,” he conceded, “But, in general, the day has been okay, a decent start to the weekend. Maybe we've learnt a few lessons from last year, but it's early days. We definitely need to keep on working and getting the most out of [the car] for tomorrow and hope that's going to be enough to give Red Bull and Ferrari a run for their money.”