Apr.9 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Nico Rosberg has denied he will slip into a ‘number 2′ role in 2015.

Despite putting up a hard fight against his teammate last year, the German has struggled to match reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton so far in 2015.

Not only that, Mercedes’ previous dominance was challenged by Ferrari two weeks ago in Malaysia, moving boss Toto Wolff to consider whether a strategy change might now be necessary.

Some interpreted that as a sign Briton Hamilton may move into de-facto ‘number 1′ status, but Rosberg insists: “That definitely won’t be the case.

“It will still be the same,” he told Britain’s Sky. “We are going to have an intense battle and the rivalry will continue.”

But Rosberg also had to deny that the intensity of his rivalry with Hamilton had reduced because of his increasingly subordinate position on the track.

“My start hasn’t been 100 per cent,” he admitted, “but it hasn’t been that far off either.

“The (Shanghai) track really suits me and we have an awesome car so it should be a great weekend and the win is possible.”

Nonetheless, both he and Hamilton finished behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in Malaysia, causing some to wonder if Mercedes needs a total re-think in the wake of its earlier dominance.

“We just need to stay calm, continue to develop and put the right things on the car,” boss Toto Wolff insists.

“Maybe we (will) put some things earlier on the car than planned, but there is no reason to panic,” he is quoted by the Daily Mail.