• Korean Grand Prix - Qualifying

Rosberg expects tough race for Mercedes

ESPN Staff
October 13, 2012 « Frustrated Button wants rule clarity | Ricciardo hit with grid penalty »
Nico Rosberg: "A target of the top seven would be a very good position from where we are at the moment" © Sutton Images
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Nico Rosberg thinks it will be tough for Mercedes to make any serious progress from its grid positions at the Korean Grand Prix on Sunday, but is hoping for a top seven result.

Rosberg qualified ninth ahead of team-mate Michael Schumacher in Korea with Nico Hulkenberg's Force India just ahead of him on the grid. However, the gap to the top seven drivers is roughly 0.4s and Rosberg is not convinced Mercedes will be able to close that gap in performance in the race.

"Lately we've had similar pace from qualifying to race so it's not going to be easy for us," he said. "But we'll try to take the opportunities we get and with a good start and good strategy we can take one or two places. A target of the top seven would be a very good position from where we are at the moment."

Nevertheless, Rosberg believes Mercedes is better suited to Korea than it was to Suzuka and says the team has made progress with its updates this weekend.

"I think the conditions suit us a little bit more and the track suits us a little bit more, especially sector one with the long straights and the hairpins - I think that's our strongest area. I think that's helped us definitely but also we're pushing forward with new bits on the car and we're definitely making progress. The issue is that the others are still fighting for the world championship so they are also pushing forward and making progress, but we'll get there. Towards the end of the season we should get a bit closer, but the part of this track we're really struggling on is the final sector."

Asked if Mercedes' advantage in sector one could give him an opportunity to pass other cars on the long straights, Rosberg said: "It can only be a benefit. Overtaking could be possible tomorrow with the tyres on the edge and graining at the front and degradation at the rear. It could get very interesting out there."