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Mercedes confident of improved race pace

ESPN Staff
May 3, 2013 « Lawyers holding up new Concorde Agreement - Ecclestone | Mercedes keen to offer Kubica F1 test »
Nico Rosberg started on pole position in Bahrain but soon fell down the order © Getty Images
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Mercedes is confident its car will have a stronger race pace at next weekend's Spanish Grand Prix after failing to deliver on its promising qualifying pace at the last two races.

Mercedes took pole position in China and Bahrain, but at both venues slipped down the order during the race. In Bahrain Nico Rosberg dropped from first to ninth during the 57-lap race as he struggled with rear tyre degradation and had to make four pit stops.

"We have focused our efforts in two key areas; finalising our upgrade package for Spain and understanding our comparative lack of race pace in Bahrain," team principal Ross Brawn said. "We have made progress in the latter area and will evaluate some developments over the upcoming race weekends to help improve the situation. We're not there yet but we are making progress and of course, performing in the race is what really counts."

Mercedes were quick at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya during pre-season testing and Rosberg is hoping that will put him in good stead at the Spanish Grand Prix.

"We know that the car went very well at the Circuit de Catalunya in pre-season testing so I am hopeful that we can have a strong weekend," he said. "We will have to wait and see how our pace compares however. I've been in the factory for a couple of days this week, on the simulator and meeting with the team, and everyone has been working hard to make progress on our race day performance. It will be an interesting weekend and once we see how everyone performs in Barcelona, it should give a good idea of how the rest of the season will look."

However, Brawn warned that the track conditions for the race will be very different to those experienced during pre-season testing.

"The Circuit de Catalunya is a circuit that we know well and we have a lot of data from the two pre-season tests to help prepare for the weekend. However in the late spring conditions, we can expect the track to be of a very different nature to what we experienced earlier this year. Overtaking is more difficult there than at some of the early season tracks and, of course, every team will be bringing new developments so the weekend should provide an interesting challenge."