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Set-up changes key to Mercedes' pace - Rosberg

ESPNF1 Staff
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Nico Rosberg's two-stop strategy surprised the paddock © Getty Images
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Nico Rosberg believes the key to Mercedes' success at the Chinese Grand Prix was his set-up, but has warned that the heat of Bahrain may provide a more difficult challenge at next weekend's race.

Rosberg's victory secured him his first points of the season after tyre degradation hampered his progress in the opening two races in Australia and Malaysia. Lower track temperatures in Shanghai appeared to help the Mercedes and Rosberg surprised the paddock by adopting a two-stop strategy to finish 20 seconds clear of the three-stopping McLarens.

Asked what the difference was this weekend, Rosberg said: "Well, it's set-up really, really thinking about what's going on in the race and why are we struggling and trying to improve that situation. Surely the conditions helped us today, I think, but even so, we're just moving forward and that's very nice to see.

"Already from the beginning of the year we've been very strong in qualifying, perhaps more difficult in the race. Now we're still strong in qualifying - very strong, maybe even stronger - and also improving the race, so it's good progress forward and I'm sure that we will continue this ongoing development. It was mainly set-up."

He said Mercedes had banked on a two-stop strategy from the beginning while some drivers appeared to swap from a three-stop to a two-stop as the race progressed.

"Before the race, that was our plan," he said. "Of course you have Plan B if things don't go well but things progressed exactly as we had hoped for. The tyres lasted for exactly the amount of laps that we were hoping for so it just all went to plan."

However, Rosberg was not so certain that his new-found performance would continue at the next round in Bahrain.

"For sure we're not where we want to be in the race," he added I had a great race today but that doesn't mean it's going to be like that at every race. We still need to push hard and continue progressing. Bahrain could be a little bit of a different story again. We need to wait and see. It's difficult to predict. I couldn't have predicted today so we'll just take it as it comes, but for sure I'm looking forward to what's to come because we're looking much stronger."

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