Nico Rosberg admitted it was a day of learning and understanding at Suzuka on Friday despite setting the pace in both free practice sessions ahead of team-mate and championship rival Lewis Hamilton.
The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS driver set a best time of 1:32.431 in the opening session of the day, and then followed that up with a time of 1:32.250 in the afternoon, with Rosberg feeling the one-lap pace of his W07 Hybrid feels good.
Rosberg still feels there is work to be done on the longer run pace, especially on the Medium compound of tyre, and still has question marks about the genuine speed of the Red Bull Racing outfit this weekend.
“It’s been a case of finding my way today,” said Rosberg. “It began with quite a lot of under-steer and we had to work through the set-up in order to find a better balance on the car.
“In the afternoon, the medium tyre didn’t seem as strong as the hard as we saw in Malaysia. However, on the soft tyre we showed strong one-lap pace, the balance felt good and the track was really exciting to drive.
“It looks like we’re ahead of the Ferraris but it remains to be seen as to where we are compared to the Red Bulls.”