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Nico Rosberg says Mercedes' 2013 car, the W04, is a 'big step forward' on 2012

German felt at home straightaway during shakedown

By William Esler.   Last Updated: 04/02/13 3:21pm

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Nico Rosberg says the W04 is a 'big step forward' for Mercedes after sampling the car for the first time at Jerez on Monday.

The German gave the car its shakedown at the venue in Southern Spain ahead of its official launch and says he immediately felt at home.

"It was amazing, it was really good," the 27-year-old told Sky Sports News.

"The conditions are brilliant here and the important thing is I got in and felt at home straightaway - my steering position was optimal and everything worked. There were no issues and I could attack straightaway flat-out - it was very nice.

"There are a lot of differences (from the 2012 car) - aerodynamically, obviously, around the back it is quite different and the nose section aerodynamically and visually is much better. Those are really the main things, but this car is a big, big step forward for us."

Rosberg says he will only know how competitive the new car will be once it hits the track for official testing on Tuesday, but feels the demonstration tyres the teams are forced to run for promotional events mean it is too early to get a real feel for the car.

Testing on Sky Sports

From dawn to dusk, Sky Sports Online will be providing live interactive commentary from trackside at both Jerez and Barcelona on every day of testing this winter, while Sky Sports News will be providing regular live updates from the tests, starting with Jerez on February 5-8.

A round-up show featuring the day's interviews from Jerez will go out at 9pm each evening of the test on Sky Sports F1.

"You know quite quickly where you are, but not today as we still have the promotional tyres on which are very different to the tyres we will race on," Nico added. "But I am happy as the car was well balanced and I could push."

This season sees Rosberg reunited with former karting team-mate and long-term friend Lewis Hamilton, something they dreamed would happen during their teenage years.

"It is great, we were team-mates for two seasons in karting when we were 14 or 15-years-old and we said at the time 'imagine if we are team-mates in one of the leading F1 teams' and after all that time it has happened - it is quite funny," Rosberg said. "But at the same time it is a big challenge and we will push each other hard."

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