Nico Rosberg has admitted that opening his 2016 championship campaign with a win was “very important”.
The German has been beaten to the last two titles consecutively by his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, but kicked off a run of winning form late last year that continued into Melbourne.
Australia was actually his fourth victory on the trot, but Rosberg told Sport Bild ahead of the second race of the season in Bahrain: “That may be nice statistically but I’m not thinking much about last year, except that it gave me a positive mood going into Melbourne.
“I’m here now,” he added. “And it was very important to start the new season with a win, so perfect job so far.”
However, it is also true that Rosberg was actually outpaced throughout the weekend in Melbourne by Hamilton, only getting ahead of the Briton at the start.
Indeed, Hamilton is not overly worried about trailing Rosberg after just one race of an unprecedented 21 this year.
“I have a good feeling about my pace,” said the triple world champion. “I was ahead all weekend until the race start last time out, so I’m confident heading to Bahrain.”
But Rosberg also says he is confident, even though his battle with Hamilton this year could be complicated by Ferrari’s increased competitiveness.
“I enjoy the fight with Lewis and with Ferrari,” Rosberg said.
“We (Mercedes) still have some lead, but Sebastian (Vettel) is quite close to us now.”