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F1 NEWS 

Mercedes duo upbeat about car pace after Friday practice in Australia

Nico Rosberg, MercedesNico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher were both excited by Mercedes' form in the second free practice session in Australia, even if much of the running was lost due to the rain.

Schumacher ended the session fastest, having set his best time on his final tour of the drying Albert Park circuit. He had rarely been out of the top three during the entire session.

The seven-time world champion said he had not been bothered by the rain as he labelled the W03 an 'excellent machine'.

"The car feels positive, we have an excellent machine," Schumacher said. "We all anticipate a dry weekend from here on, so we weren't too bothered by the rain."

Rosberg meanwhile finished seventh fastest, but said he too had been encouraged by the early feel of Mercedes' 2012 car.

"In general I am quite pleased: the car feels good, and it's been a decent start," he said.

"It was good to get going again, and to get an idea of where we are compared to the others.

"Today was mixed conditions, but we got some good dry laps in and I was able to learn some things that will be useful for a dry forecast.

"I especially learned a lot through high fuel running, which is good preparation for the race."

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