Nico Rosberg says Mercedes will be closer to the front runners in 2013

German pleased with balance of new car on different fuel loads

By William Esler.   Last Updated: 22/02/13 2:55pm

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Nico Rosberg is delighted with the improvement Mercedes have made between last year's W03 and the 2013 car.

The Silver Arrows looked to have stolen a march on their rivals at the start of the 2012 season with a double-DRS device, but as the year progressed the concept made it difficult for the team to set the car up, leading to a barren period of five races without scoring.

Rosberg topped the times on Day One in Barcelona, whilst Hamilton's time on the hard tyre on Wednesday caught the eye of many in the paddock, and the German feels Mercedes will be more competitive in 2013.

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"I am pleased, it is a good start at the moment - the car feels good and the short runs, long runs, everything is looking ok," he told Sky Sports News.

"It is definitely progress from last year, for sure we will be closer to the top guys - that is important to be heading in the right direction - so the team has done a really good job over the winter and it looks like all their hard work and effort has definitely been worthwhile and the car is a pleasure to drive as the balance is good.

"Obviously reliability is something we need to improve - we had a few issues but nothing major. What is also looking good is our development rate at the moment, it is quite a decent rate and that was our weakness last year, so that is going in the right direction too. All these factors are going well at the moment but we are not quite there yet."

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