Nico Rosberg starts the Chinese GP from fourth place, separated from Lewis Hamilton by the two Red Bulls – and thus he has to get past them to take the fight to his team mate.
Rosberg says tyres will be the key at a track that always put a big strain on the front left.
“It will be a tough race, because the left front tyre is a big issue,” said Rosberg. “For sure there will be things happening, some people will struggle more than others. I had a good run on Friday, so I’m going into it confidently, knowing that I’ve this Red Bull package in the middle, which is not very helpful. But that’s the way it is, and with the top speed that I have I’m hoping that I manage to get by them somehow.
“I’ve got my eyes set on Lewis, who’s that bit ahead. But the Red Bulls also had a good race speed, and they seemed to be OK with the front graining on Friday. So it’s not going to be easy to get by them. I hope to have a good start, maybe with the engine power that we have I can get a bit of a run into Turn One. We’ll see. But it won’t be easy, for sure.
“Then from there we just have to see how it goes with strategy and try and get my tyre management right. There will also be some interesting things going on also with option and prime, because the option grains that little bit more, so it’s not really clear which tyre is better at which point in the race. So that will open up the race a little bit tomorrow, and throw in also maybe some surprises, and some opportunities also.”
Rosberg, who had a scrappy Q3, was once again beaten by his team mate in a wet session.
“Even if everything would have gone right for me today, he was faster. So he’s just been doing a good job in the wet, that’s clear. Again today he was very quick. But also one must say that the set-up is completely wrong for the race today, we’re set-up for front left graining for tomorrow, which is the opposite of what you need in the wet, and the rear was just all over the place today. So that’s a little thing just to throw in. But nonetheless definitely he did a good job, and up to now in the wet, yes, he’s had an edge over me in qualifying at least.”