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Nico Rosberg: Singapore is a Red Bull track

PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images

Nico Rosberg is expecting Red Bull to be the dominant force at the Singapore Grand Prix this weekend as his team Mercedes plays down its chances.

Mercedes struggled in Singapore last year and is still not sure whether the changes it has made to its car in the intervening 12 months will be enough to avoid a repeat. Rosberg, who has won the last two races, says rivals Red Bull will be the team to beat this year.

"Of course, it won't be easy," he said. "This is a Red Bull track and we weren't so strong there last year. But I have faith in the team and my belief in myself is as high as ever.

"I approach each weekend aiming to win the race. The points gap has gone up and down but I've taken it one race at a time -- and that's the best way for me, as you can see by how the gap is now."

Despite winning all but one race in 2016, team boss Toto Wolff still thinks Mercedes will face a tough weekend in Singapore.

"After a strong showing in Italy, we go to Singapore with a big challenge ahead of us. No team has ever scored a one-two finish there -- and with good reason. As we have seen before, it's a race where a single problem can cascade into many more as the weekend progresses. We have to optimise everything to get a solid result. We didn't manage it last year and, although we believe we now understand why, only performance on the racetrack can prove our conclusions right. We are curious and excited to see how it goes.

"Ferrari were mighty around this circuit last year and it will suit the high downforce design philosophy followed by Red Bull, so we must not make the mistake of thinking we are favourites this weekend."

Mercedes technical boss Paddy Lowe added: "This was not a good race for us last year and a lot of work has been done during the intervening 12 months to understand why that was. It's a matter of great interest for us as a team to see if we can come back and get it right this time around. Of course, we haven't been able to test on the circuit, so all of our theories are just theories at this stage.

"We've got a lot more work ahead to get ourselves in a good position during practice, to qualify well and then to have a strong race. But we love a challenge and are looking forward to it. It's an atmospheric venue with plenty of fans turning out, so we're aiming to put on a good show and compete strongly."