Nico Rosberg
Rosberg insists that Mercedes will be "fight back big time" in the next race at Chinese Grand Prix.Reuters

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg has challenged Ferrari following Sebastian Vettel's triumph in the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday.

The 29-year-old German had earlier jokingly remarked that he wanted Ferrari to come a little closer after a dominant Mercedes team finished almost 30 seconds ahead of the Maranello based team in the 2015 Formula 1 season-opener in Australia.

However, Rosberg became a classic victim of the phrase "be careful what you wish for", as Vettel ran a flawless race in the Malaysian Grand Prix, where Ferrari were able to beat Mercedes on sheer pace for the first time in the V6 turbo era.

On being asked whether he rued his comments after the Australian Grand Prix, Rosberg, who finished third behind his teammate Hamilton in Sepang, replied: "No, but all I can say on behalf on our team is : Game on, Ferrari!"

The former Williams driver went on to explain what he had actually meant to say in Australia.

"There's a big difference between get closer and [wanting Ferrari to] beat us because they're faster! Massive difference there."

However, he insists that Mercedes are going to "fight back big time" in the next race at Chinese Grand Prix.

"But for sure, on behalf of our team, as I said on the podium, bring it on. We're going to fight back big time," he challenged.

Mercedes' decision to pit both the cars when the safety car was brought out early on in the race proved to be very costly for Rosberg as he had to wait for a safe moment to be set off, and when he was eventually released there was a lot of traffic, which further slowed his progress.

And Rosberg admits that this strategy did not work out well for them.

"It was the plan from before the race if there was a safety car on that lap then we box," added the German. "I think we didn't expect so many people to stay out, probably, and I also didn't expect to lose so much time in the pit stop waiting for people to go by. The pit lane is so wide we thought we could go alongside."

"Those were the problems, and then just getting through the pack afterwards was very difficult and cost a lot of tyre degradation so that really put me on the back foot. I tried to fight back as much as possible but couldn't quite get back to Lewis, although I had lost a lot from that pit stop phase. I'm happy I got very close to Lewis but not enough to attack or anything."