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As Mercedes step up their preparations for the 2014 Formula One campaign at testing in Bahrain this week, driver Nico Rosberg has admitted he is cautiously optimistic about the team’s chances this season.
The Silver Arrows came away from testing at Jerez with plenty of boxes ticked ahead of the Australian Grand Prix on March 16, especially when it came to the reliability of the W05.
With 301 laps between Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in Spain, the Brackley-based outfit are hoping to take another step forward in Bahrain, as the first race in Melbourne edges ever closer.
As Mercedes look to close the gap on reigning champion Sebastian Vettel, who is 2.750 to regain his title for a fifth successive season, Rosberg believes it’s been a positive start for his team but warned the race pace of the W05 is still uncertain at this early stage.
He said: “It’s a decent start and I had expected it to be a lot worse. The goal coming here was to get a lot of mileage and we have managed to achieve that quite well. It’s a surprise to do so many laps because it’s been a mission with the new technology.”
“We have no idea where we are on pace so it’s really early days,” Rosberg added. “It’s not possible to give a mark out of ten because pace is important and we have no idea where we are on pace.”
Hamilton will be in the driving seat for the first two days of testing in Bahrain, starting on Wednesday, before Rosberg has another outing in the highly-rated car.