Mercedes Formula 1 chief Niki Lauda has admitted that his team cannot afford to make any mistakes in today's Chinese Grand Prix, as Ferrari is now so close to its race pace.
Lauda said he expected Ferrari to be more impressive in the race than its qualifying performance suggested.
“I would say, to be honest, we have more of an advantage (in qualifying) than in the race, because of tyre wear and other things,” said Lauda.
“So let’s say if the circuit conditions stay the same, I see only two or three tenths race speed against Vettel and Ferrari in terms of pace.
“This is not much, so the smallest mistake you can lose out. We did all the mistakes in our last race, we hope not to repeat.
“Everybody is alert, everyone knows this is more or less a two-stop race, so life gets easier I think and hope.”
Rosberg “did everything right”
Lauda was happier with Nico Rosberg’s performance in China, as he ensured a front-row lock out.
“Nico at the end did an incredible lap and nearly got Lewis. And Nico was a little bit behind in the last two races, so he’s back on top thank God.
“He did everything right, and especially for his morale this is very important to be in the front row, with Vettel sitting there waiting for mistakes, it’s very important that they are sitting there.
“Nico really has to watch Vettel, and it depends on the start how we get away, but we have to drive hard and clever to keep Sebastian behind."