Michael Schumacher was optimistic that Mercedes could carry its qualifying form into the Malaysian Grand Prix after securing his best starting spot since returning to Formula 1 as he went third quickest at Sepang.
The seven-time World Champion was beaten only by the two McLarens, and held a provisional front row spot until deposed by an improvement from Jenson Button.
Mercedes ran third and fourth early in the Australian GP but struggled with high tire degradation. Schumacher was halted by an early gearbox failure, while his team-mate Nico Rosberg dropped down the order before a last-lap collision with Sergio Perez's Sauber consigned him to 12th.
Asked if he was worried about another slump in race pace on Sunday, Schumacher replied: "I guess all of us have certain concerns because these temperatures are pretty new to us. We had some preparation yesterday. We have done a decent job. We have learned a lesson in Australia, reacted and the boys in factory have done a great job so I am looking forward to tomorrow."
He added: "I feel good about it and we have chosen a car that should work better in the race - that is the situation that I hope will play out tomorrow."
Schumacher said that no matter what happened in the race, Mercedes' pace so far in both Australia and Malaysia proved it was in substantially better shape than a year ago.
"It is quite an achievement to see who is behind us," he said. "We still have to catch up a bit forward.
"We are reasonably close, not miles away like we were last year so it is up to us to have a good development program, work methodically and stay focused and let's see what the season will bring us."