Nico Rosberg is braced for a “big battle” between Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull in this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix after Friday’s closely-fought practice running.
After seeing Max Verstappen head up a Red Bull one-two in FP1, Rosberg responded in second practice by topping the timesheets for Mercedes.
Each of the three leading teams enjoyed spells at the head of the field and set a similar long-run pace, stoking the fire nicely for a scrap between them in Singapore.
“It’s really close between ourselves, Red Bull and Ferrari,” Rosberg acknowledged after the session.
“Much closer than at some other tracks for sure, so it looks like a big battle ahead.
“I’m looking forward to it.”
Rosberg’s Friday did not go by without one issue, though, after a mistake in FP1 saw him hit the wall and damage the front-end of his Mercedes W07 Hybrid car.
“The first session was going OK until I hit the wall at Turn 18,” Rosberg explained.
“That wasn’t ideal, but luckily the impact wasn’t too heavy, so I managed to get the car back to the pits and the guys had it ready in time for FP2.
“The second session felt better but we still have some room for improvement.
“It’s been a solid start to the weekend. Definitely better than last year.”
Rosberg enters the Singapore weekend trailing Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton by just two points at the top of the drivers’ championship.
Qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix is live on CNBC and the NBC Sports app from 9am ET on Saturday.