Nico Rosberg is anticipating a tough weekend in Abu Dhabi due to a deficit in engine power caused by the high mileage on his current unit.
Rosberg and the Mercedes team have managed to avoid any engine-related grid penalties in 2015 by keeping within the limit of four power units per season.
By doing so, Mercedes has been forced into extending the milage of its engines, with a failure for Rosberg at the Italian Grand Prix in September having a knock-on effect at the end of the season.
Rosberg therefore arrives in Abu Dhabi with an engine down on power that makes him wary of his chances despite leading practice on Friday.
“It’s been a good start here in Abu Dhabi, but it will be a tough weekend for me as I have quite a high mileage engine in my car,” Rosberg said.
“After the Monza problem, we have had to stretch the engine life more than we had planned over the 19 races, so I definitely have a small lack of power on the straights and therefore need to make up extra time in the corners.
“It will be a big battle with Lewis here. He didn’t really bring together his quick laps, so it will be even closer tomorrow I’m sure. I’m looking forward to it and I definitely want to win this race and give the boys in the garage a reason to celebrate at the end of the season.”
On the other side of the Mercedes garage, world champion Lewis Hamilton was left unhappy with Mercedes’ long-run pace in practice, believing that there is ground to be made up.
“The long run pace doesn’t feel quite as strong so that’s something I need to work on,” Hamilton said. “I’ll probably make some more tweaks tonight and hopefully tomorrow it will be better.
“It’s very hard to overtake here, so of course it’s better to be up on pole. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to win from further back.”