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'Mercedes not far away from podium'
Michael Schumacher believes that Mercedes Grand Prix could have achieved better qualifying positions in Australia at the weekend but is confident in a car which continues to improve as Formula 1 heads to Malaysia - the German soon aims to be challenging once again for rostrum placings.

Having qualified seventh at the first two races of the season, 7-time World Champion Schumacher finished sixth at Sakhir first time out and tenth in Melbourne at an event in which he recovered from last following a first-lap pit-stop.

"I know that it might sound awkward but I take a lot of good aspects from the race weekend in Melbourne," Schumacher wrote on his website.

"Of course that does not show at first sight but, looking into our weekend more deeply, I find that we did improve quite well and have a good reason to be quite satisfied - just not from the pure result, obviously.

"Analyzing qualifying, I think both Nico (Rosberg) and I could have been ranked two to three positions better. I had a too conservative a setup in the end - which was concentrated too much towards the race - plus I had a tear-off strip stuck on my front wing, which too cost me some time, and going into the race from those better positions would have meant fighting for the podium.

"All that means that we are not too far away and I am quite confident that there will be more to come; so going to Malaysia we know that, clearly, we have improved our pace since Bahrain, which is a good feeling."

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