Williams has abandoned its early season strategy of low fuel running on Fridays after gaining confidence about the true potential of its car.
Nico Rosberg had been a regular at the top of the timesheets on the opening day of practice earlier in the year, with Williams choosing to run low fuel levels to get a better understanding of its car for the early stages of qualifying. However, with the team having made good progress with its FW31 and now optimistic that it should be able to get into Q3 on a regular basis, the team has decided to devote more time to heavy fuel running.
As a result of the change of tactic, Rosberg ended up seventh and 13th in Friday's German Grand Prix practice sessions, and Kazuki Nakajima was ninth in both the morning and afternoon.
"We have changed our strategy so we are not looking at being first any more on Fridays, so that explains some of the things," Rosberg told AUTOSPORT. "Once you get more comfortable with your performance, you can change your strategy and adapt it a bit."
Although Rosberg headed into this weekend openly targeting a podium finish on the back of the recent speed of the Williams, the German thinks a top three finish will have to wait judging by the pace of his car so far.
"We struggled a bit with the conditions being very cold and windy and everything. The car was not going quite as well and we need to do some big set up changes to really understand a bit more tomorrow.
"But I am still confident with the temperatures coming up and the wind dropping a bit that we can still do very well – top six, top eight."
When asked about the possibility of a podium finish, Rosberg said: "That is maybe a bit optimistic, no? But we will see. For that you have to be lucky anyway, but to achieve that this weekend you would have to be very lucky. So we shouldn't be targeting that anymore, we should be targeting top six I think."