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Rosberg relishing victory at Sepang

2014-03-27 14:08

ROSBERG IS READY: F1 Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg is looking forward to winning at the 2014 Malaysia GP. Image: AFP

PATRICK JOHNSTON

SEPANG, Malaysia - A beaming Nico Rosberg has predicted he and Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton will be battling for victory in Sunday's 2014 Malaysian F1 GP thanks to their swift adaptation to the new regulations leaving the opposition trailing.

Rosberg overtook pole-starter Hamilton before the first turn of the season's opening race in Melbourne two weeks ago and went on to grab the first chequered flag of the V6 turbo/hybrid 'power unit' era.

With little time for their rivals to employ significant upgrades, Rosberg was quietly confident his fifth career victory could come on Sunday.

'CHANGE IS NEEDED'

"The chances are that we will be right at the front - it seems we already have a bit of an advantage over the other people," Rosberg told reporters at the Sepang Circuit on Thursday (March 27). "Of course Melbourne is not a benchmark as a race but we are looking good - it will be possible to get a great result here."

The technical changes introduced for the 2014 season are the biggest most of the sport's engineers and mechanics have ever seen, with new quieter engines, energy recovery systems and an emphasis on fuel economy as the sport embraces a "green revolution".

A revolution that, unfortunately, the fans are not too keen on...

After four consecutive F1 titles for Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel the changes have levelled the playing field and, unsurprisingly, Rosberg was all for it. "I think its been all good for F1, it has changed the pecking order which is good for everybody.

"We needed a bit of a change."

Despite the strength of the car, Hamilton had engine problems in Melbourne and was told to retire on Lap 3. He will use the same engine in Malaysia and stressed the importance of reliability, especially in the testing conditions in Sepang where temperatures are high, humidity heavy.

"Reliability is going to be put to a real test because it's so hot the engine is going to be on the absolute limit and I really don't know how big the advantage is going to be," the 2008 champion said. "When you lose 25 points that's a serious deficit and from one DNF (did not finish) you can gain a large amount."

Despite the stuttering start to the season, Hamilton shared Rosberg's confidence in the cars and said it was important the team made the most of its advantage before other teams caught up. "Everybody is pushing hard to catch us. We can't sit back - we have keep trying to develop the car."
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