• German GP - FP2

Red Bull 'looks a bit closer' - Rosberg

ESPN Staff
July 18, 2014 « New set-up a challenge - Hamilton | Vettel still banking on rain at Hockenheim »
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Nico Rosberg is concerned Red Bull may have closed the gap at Hockenheim but thinks Saturday will be a better indication of just how much of its advantage Mercedes has retained without FRIC.

The speculation leading into the weekend was that Mercedes might struggle the most without its FRIC suspension system, believed to be one of its strengths in 2014. Fernando Alonso finished three tenths off in FP1 before Daniel Ricciardo's supersoft lap was just one tenth of Lewis Hamilton's FP2 benchmark, while Red Bull showed competitive pace compared to Mercedes on the longer soft compound runs.

When asked if Mercedes still has momentum without its FRIC suspension system, Rosberg replied: "I hope so, but for sure it will shuffle things around a little bit without this FRIC system and there are some new challenges to rebalance the car and figure my way out to get happy in the car.

"Today we made good progress, I was very unhappy this morning and we tried some different things and it worked out. [Red Bull] looks a bit closer out there but you never know what people are doing and things like that. We'll see tomorrow and Sunday."

Though the forecast of race-day rain saves the headache of managing the tyres in hot temperatures, which was an issue on Friday, Rosberg still predicts a tricky weekend.

"The tyres are difficult definitely because there is a lot of degradation and they are very soft for this race track, and especially for these temperatures. Colder temperatures would help on Sunday, but if it rains it's a whole different story again.

"The ground was 50C and we are sitting on the ground. The car is literally touching the floor all the time and my butt is on the floor of the car, so it's as if I was sitting on a 50 degrees Celsius floor. It gets massively hot out there."

Rosberg's brakes looked to be seriously overheating in the closing stages of FP2 after he got stuck behind an improvised Hamilton pit stop, though he says it won't cause an issue between the Mercedes drivers.

"No, no, it's not for me to discuss that and anyway it didn't hamper my programme, it was just a bit of a longer wait and that's it. My dear team-mate decided to box without any warning, so that put us all into a bit of a mess."

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