Nico Rosberg has warned Mercedes that its rivals are "pushing like crazy" to catch the early pace-setters.

After Lewis Hamilton took pole position in Australia, Nico Rosberg secured a comfortable victory and Mercedes arrives at this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix as the pre-race favourite for victory. However, despite the advantage that Mercedes currently holds, Rosberg is keen the gap is not allowed to shrink.

Asked where he felt Mercedes stands in the pecking order, Rosberg said: "I think we look to be the quickest at the moment which is fantastic but we need to be careful with that and the opposition is not asleep, they're pushing like crazy."

Reflecting on his Melbourne victory, Rosberg admitted it had been a special way to start the new season.

"Well it's been a fantastic start to the season, definitely, yes. I think the whole team has done a great job with these new regulations, with the car and engine and powertrain that they've built and yes, it's been great to win the first race, for sure, fantastic. But now... went on holiday after that, so obviously the holiday was a little bit better, thanks to the win but now back to just fully focussed on getting the most out of this race."

Rosberg had to obey team orders to not pass Lewis Hamilton in last year's race at Sepang, but he said he hopes for another close battle with his team-mate.

"That would be a great thing. The chances are... yes, that we will be right at the front because it seems that we have a bit of an advantage over the other people. Of course Melbourne is not a benchmark, as a race, so we need to be a bit cautious with that but I think we're looking good, so for sure it will be possible to do a great result again here."



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