Nico Rosberg described his Bahrain Grand Prix's fifth place for Mercedes as successful damage limitation, and denied the result was frustrating after he had taken a dominant victory in China just a week earlier.
After qualifying, Rosberg had said he was even more confident about his race pace than he had been going into the Shanghai grand prix, but he ended up losing places on the first lap and only managed to recover to fifth. The German remained upbeat, pointing out that earlier in the season Mercedes would have been expected to suffer far more in a race so hard on tires.
"Of course, coming off a win last weekend it has been a much more mixed weekend here," Rosberg admitted. "But all in all it is still 10 points for fifth place in the most difficult conditions for tires out there. We struggled massively at the beginning of the season and you can see we are moving forward and progressing and from that point of view there are a lot of positives to come from today and push on with the development."
Rosberg thinks Mercedes can still head into the three-week break before the Spanish Grand Prix satisfied with the gains it has made this season.
"[The aim] is just to make the car quicker – that is the main thing. Aero wise and mechanical and everything will come together," he said. "But even today in these very tough conditions we were the third-best team. That is OK – it is keeping in the right direction and some more teams are in a lot more trouble than us."
The stewards are investigating two incidents involving Rosberg's defensive driving, which saw Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso both go off the track while trying to pass him. The pair were critical of Rosberg after the race, but the Mercedes driver was reluctant to comment until he had watched a replay.
"I haven't seen it myself, so I prefer not to say anything," said Rosberg.