Nico Rosberg admits he cannot explain why Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton seems to have the upper hand in their qualifying battle this season.

Despite the Silver Arrows continuing to be the dominant team on Saturday and Sunday, Hamilton is already 9-1 up in terms of pole positions, a duel that Rosberg won 11-7 in 2014. Although Hamilton eventually claimed the world title, the pair's qualifying battle was as interesting as the racing it produced, and Rosberg is mystified why, Barcelona aside, he has been unable to get the better of his team-mate.

"I've been working to improve my racing and it may have slightly compromised qualifying a little bit, but most of it is not explainable to me," the German confessed, "I don't understand why there is such a big difference and it is frustrating at the moment, but I am nearly over it. It is not something that pulls me down - it is the way it is and, as long as my racing is good, I can try to turn it around."

Rosberg - who revealed that he ran without a coolsuit in Hungary because of the extra weight it would have conferred - confirms that turning his focus to improving his racecraft this year has paid off, with wins in Spain, Monaco and Austria keeping him within touching distance of Hamilton's points lead.

Heading into the summer break, just 21 points - less than that awarded for a victory - separate the pair, with the wild card of more unpredictable starts being thrown into the mix under new regulations that take effect from Belgium onwards.

"We have been practicing the starts," Rosberg revealed, perhaps hoping that the switch could help overcome any qualifying deficit, "The procedure is the same, but you have to be more reactive because the clutch won't be in the perfect position if it has not been set perfectly. It just gets set, then you have to deal with it. It is going to be quite complicated..."


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