The German entered the 2016 F1 season opener hoping to extend his six-pole, three-win streak but has been so far unable to match Hamilton’s pace. What’s more, Rosberg has already made several mistakes this weekend from crashing in FP2 to looking shaky in qualifying.
The 30-year-old eventually managed to recover on his final run, though that ultimately fell more than three tenths off than Hamilton’s benchmark.
“The last lap in Q3 was good,” Rosberg said. “Lewis just did a better job, that’s it.
“Of course I am not happy with second place but there are still a lot of opportunities for the race.
“There are going to be more unknowns definitely. If Lewis gets a start and after that they have to change his strategy because of traffic behind or something, that he’s going to drop out into, he won’t know about it [due to the radio ban].
“So, that’s for sure, there are scenarios where you can lose out quite a lot. And, of course, starting second, I like that. It increases the chances.”
After talking up rivals Ferrari all winter long, Mercedes’ pole-setting time was over eight tenths faster than the lead SF16-H of Sebastian Vettel. Rosberg says this a testament to the reigning world champions’ relentless efforts in the current turbo era.
“This is really impressive to see how the team in the third year running – it’s still very early days so let’s be careful, but for sure here this weekend we seem to be the quickest out there by a good margin.
“It’s amazing to see that. The risk is always when you are dominating that you start to become complacent. Everybody has experienced that. And it seems that we are still able to push through, so that’s really awesome.”