Michael Schumacher is cautiously optimistic that Mercedes has improved its long run pace in Malaysia, but admits he doesn't know if it is quick relative to McLaren and Red Bull.

13984 - Schumacher cautiously optimistic over long run pace

Mercedes impressed during qualifying in Melbourne last weekend but was disappointed with its race pace as it struggled with tyre degradation. Schumacher said that occurrence was a "one-off" and after working to rectify the problems ahead of the race at Sepang he felt that the team had managed to improve on high fuel.

"We had a good day on track today, and I am very happy about the work that has been done since Australia," Schumacher said. "This has enabled us to achieve reasonably consistent long runs which is obviously important in these conditions. Saying that, we also know that everyone works on different programmes on Fridays, so I would guess we have not seen everything yet. We are very much aware that we should not be too optimistic about today's outcome."

Team principal Ross Brawn agreed that progress had been made with the tyres but said it would be crucial to set the car up in preparation for a track with more grip come Sunday.

"We know that we need to focus on tyre consistency and durability, and we learnt some valuable things today which we can hopefully carry into the race," Brawn said. "We also need to make sure that we follow the track evolution over the next couple of days so that we end up with the right car for the race on Sunday."