• Malaysian GP - Mercedes

Rivals much closer in Sepang - Rosberg

Laurence Edmondson March 28, 2014 « We still have lots to do - Vettel | Longer stints need work - Ricciardo »
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Nico Rosberg is expecting Mercedes to have a much tougher grand prix weekend in Malaysia than it did in Australia two weeks ago.

Rosberg won by over 25 seconds in Melbourne, but during Friday practice in Malaysia was just 0.035s clear of Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari in second. With hotter conditions and a faster, more abrasive race track in Malaysia, he is anticipating more of a challenge from his rivals.

"We're really focused on getting the most out of the car and are not taking anything for granted because the opposition is really close," he said. "It's a totally different situation here so we have to be careful and try to maximise everything.

"Definitely it's looking close out there, but we are having some issues here and there and are not able to maximise everything completely. We need to work hard tonight to improve. We don't know how it's going to be here yet, it's so completely different compared to Melbourne. Tyres, temperatures, humidity - imagine what it's like for the cars and us drivers out there."

Pirelli is predicting a two-stop race once the track beds in, but Rosberg said on Friday that degradation was high.

"It's very tough for the cars and tough for the tyres. There's massive degradation out there, which is a big challenge. For sure there will be lots of different strategies with the tyres, but fuel management is not a problem this year at this track. That's not unusual in any way and it's just about focusing on the tyres and getting the long runs done."

Laurence Edmondson is deputy editor of ESPNF1

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Laurence Edmondson is deputy editor of ESPNF1 Laurence Edmondson grew up on a Sunday afternoon diet of Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell and first stepped in the paddock as a Bridgestone competition finalist in 2005. He worked for ITV-F1 after graduating from university and has been ESPNF1's deputy editor since 2010