Nico insists he's well set
Pre-Qualy favourite to start fifth in Bahrain
Last Updated: 21/04/12 4:02pm
Nico Rosberg has brushed aside his disappointing performance in Bahrain qualifying by insisting he feels better set-up for the race than he did for Saturday's shoot-out.
Having entered qualifying as the clear favourite to secure pole position, Rosberg's single lap in Q3 steadily fell off the pace before a mistake at the final corner demoted him to a lowly fifth position.
Yet, in contrast to both the pre-qualy expectation that Mercedes would dominate and the widespread belief that the W03 is better suited for Saturday than Sunday, Rosberg struck a surprisingly upbeat figure in the paddock afterwards.
"In general, we've been working towards the race - in set-up, in strategy - so we compromised qualy a little and even from firth I think it's possible to do a very good race," Rosberg told Sky Sports F1.
"We've improved things all through the weekend and, as I say, I feel more comfortable in the car than qualy."
He added: "I am the only driver in the top five who has a set of new option tyres which can be very useful at this circuit.
"It will be very important to drive carefully, and find the right tyre management in the race, as the conditions are very tough out there."
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Rosberg's Mercedes team-mate Michael Schumacher endured a disastrous qualifying, being eliminated in Q1 after opting not to go out for another flying lap at the end of the end of the session.
The seven-time World Champion later revealed that DRS problems had disrupted his running and now faces the prospect of having to pick his way through the field on Sunday.
"I am obviously very disappointed to have qualified in 17th position on the grid for a race which looks to be quite competitive for us," Schumacher said.
"Unfortunately on my fast lap, which was looking quite good, my DRS broke in the last sector. We tried to fix it in the garage but were not able to go out again.
"Trying for a lap without DRS on different tyres would not have made sense. We now have to try to see what we can do from here and push as much as possible."