Nico Rosberg is confident of putting up a strong challenge to team-mate Lewis Hamilton in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix despite falling significantly short in qualifying.
The German’s best Q3 time proved a full 0.6s adrift of Hamilton’s 1:26.33s pole position effort.
Rosberg endured a difficult qualifying session, aborting his first run after a trip through the grass at Turn 15.
The 2014 championship runner-up later lamented the session’s windy conditions, which had proven a major change from the previous four hours of practice running.
“It’s not indicative of the pace difference,” insisted Rosberg post-qualifying.
“For sure Lewis was quick but I didn’t get my laps together so I’m not too worried about pace; I’m not worried about pace at all to be honest.
“But the race is always a different thing so maybe I can even turn it around tomorrow.
“On Friday, in the long runs, my pace was very strong so hopefully it can be the other way tomorrow.
“I’ll definitely give it everything and put on a good show for everybody.
“The tyres are my opportunity,” he added.
“If the temperatures drop like they did just now, then with the soft tyre there could really be a big problem with the graining.”
After retiring from the Australian Grand Prix with a mechanical problem 12 months ago, Hamilton romped to last year’s title by winning six of the last seven races.
The Brit is full of confidence heading into tomorrow’s race as he chases a first Albert Park victory since 2008.
“It doesn’t feel like it’s been a long time since the last race,” he said.
“We’ve already had and a big rush and a huge effort from all of the guys back at the factory to enable us to come here and have this performance.
“Today we found a good balance and today was just about pushing those laps.
“It’s so much fun when you get into qualifying, you have those single laps which you have to push.
“I’m just massively grateful for all the hard work that’s gone in.
“The plan tomorrow is to have a better start to the season (than last year) and today’s the first step in that direction.”