Nico Rosberg has admitted he doesn't mind playing second fiddle to Lewis Hamilton in terms of being in the media spotlight.

With his flamboyant lifestyle and pop-star girlfriend, Hamilton has always been the higher profile of the two drivers with the media and fans, a far cry from when the two used to be karting team-mates in their boyhoods.

There is also a perception that Hamilton is the better driver of the two with the Briton perhaps more naturally talented and aggressive of the two.

Despite that Rosberg, who has a massive 1.5 million less followers on Twitter, admits he does still feel respected in the sport.

“I do feel that the fans appreciate me,” Rosberg told the DPA news agency, “and I am grateful for their support.”

Team chairman Niki Lauda admits the perception is often because of Hamilton’s ”brutal force of talent”.

And speaking to Austria’s ORF broadcaster he added: ”Nico is characterised in that he thinks in a very technical way — almost like Vettel.

“The two (Hamilton and Rosberg) complement each other very well.”

Heading into the first race in Melbourne, the Mercedes pair are seen as the clear favourites based on their times in preseason testing, indeed F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has tipped Rosberg before now backing Hamilton for the title.

And Rosberg is very much looking forward to getting the season started; ”I have a feeling that this could be our year and that’s very exciting.”

There is still some caution however, speaking to the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper Commercial Director Toto Wolff claimed: “To say now that we will become world champions because of the good tests would be totally wrong and premature.”

And another potential fly in the ointment looking to Australia is the forecast for rain on Sunday, something Lauda admits is making him slightly nervous.

“We have never driven with these turbo engines in the rain,” he said, “so it is possible that even more problems could turn up.”

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Formula 1