Nico Rosberg says he has no concerns about only being fourth on the Chinese Grand Prix as he suspects his car will have better race pace than many other front-runners.
Last year's dominant Shanghai winner had been tipped as a pole and victory threat having blitzed opening practice. But while Rosberg's Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton stormed to the squad's first pole of the 2013 Formula 1 season, the German was 0.4 second slower in fourth, behind Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus and Fernando Alonso's Ferrari.
"It was a decent lap until the last corner, where unfortunately I just messed up a little bit," Rosberg said. "It was just when you think the lap is done and nothing can go wrong... But I didn't get it right. But fourth place is OK.
"All weekend, I've been thinking a lot about the race in general and set-up, because it's going to be hotter tomorrow and that might catch a few people out. It's a decent position.
"I'm sure it's possible to go forward from fourth. How far? I don't know yet."
Rosberg also played down the disruption caused by the hydraulic problems that sidelined his car during final practice.
"Of course it affected me a little bit as it didn't allow me to practice qualifying in the morning, and sometimes you need to think about it and optimize the settings," he said. "I was running behind a little bit through qualifying, but then again qualifying went OK. I was really progressing well."
He is certain that Mercedes' decision to go for a good grid position on soft tires rather than hang back in Q3 and start on the favored medium rubber will be proved correct.
"I think that's the right choice, especially with the pace we have in the car," Rosberg said. "Starting on the soft gives us the chance to be far forward on the grid, and that should be the better strategy for tomorrow. I think I have the car well prepared for the race."