Pole sitter Nico Rosberg is not confident he will win Sunday's Bahrain grand prix. The German acknowledged that while his Mercedes is quick over a single lap, it might burn through Pirelli's heavily...
The German acknowledged that while his Mercedes is quick over a single lap, it might burn through Pirelli's heavily-degrading tyres faster than his rivals in the race.
And, in the now tyre strategy-dominated sport of 2013, it could be the case that Mercedes' rivals were sacrificing qualifying performance on Saturday to be in better shape for the grand prix.
"We're not going to be as quick (in the race) as we were in qualifying compared to everybody else," Rosberg acknowledged.
Similarly, team boss Ross Brawn is happy but not jubilant that a silver car will start from P1 on Sunday.
"Much more important is that we have the fastest car over 57 laps," he is quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
Indeed, a look at the top ten grid positions shows there are several contenders. 2013 race winners Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso are second and third, while Melbourne winner Kimi Raikkonen qualified only ninth.
"It's a big surprise," Red Bull's Vettel admitted. "I don't know what's their (Lotus's) plan but, it didn't matter the compound, they were quite quick all weekend."
Lotus' Raikkonen insisted qualifying ninth was not the plan, but he told Brazil's O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper: "In Melbourne I qualified seventh and won."
Mercedes' Toto Wolff is quoted by Salzburger Nachrichten: "I am assuming that some of the top drivers have been working more for the race, but that does not mean they were right.
"Let's wait and see what happens.
"I don't think we really saw from Lotus or Red Bull what was really possible by them on a fast lap. But we are not so naive. The bottom line is that Sunday is what counts," he added.
According to Finland's MTV3 broadcaster, Ferrari's Alonso agrees: "Even those who are behind on the grid are definitely still in the game."