Mercedes have taken a big step towards a new winning era in Formula One, Nico Rosberg told DPA ahead of this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

The German driver said the team had made huge progress this season and the aim now had to be to match Red Bull, the current dominating force in F1.

“As a team we have climbed from fifth to second at present (in the constructors’ championship). That is a mega performance when you consider where we have come from,” Rosberg said.

Before Sunday’s final race of the season, Mercedes, on 348 points, are locked in battle with Ferrari (333) and Lotus (315) for runners-up in the team race behind Red Bull.

Last season, when Rosberg was partnered by record world champion Michael Schumacher, the team garnered 142 points and were well behind Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Lotus.

“Last year we were a long way from the music and have gained 1.5 seconds in the winter. That shows how much power is in our team,” Rosberg said.

Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, has had a successful debut season with Mercedes since joining from McLaren. He is third in the drivers’ standings behind already-crowned four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.

Rosberg, who is sixth in the standings, won his second grand prix in Monaco and then went on to win the British GP. He also looks back on a season which has included three pole positions and two further podium places.

Team-mate Hamilton meanwhile claimed his maiden win for Mercedes in Hungary, and has had four other podium places and five pole positions.

“Now the next step has to come,” Rosberg said. “We want to be the best in Formula One. That is Sebastian (Vettel) and his (Red Bull) team. But that’s where we want to be.”

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