Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg
Rosberg set the pace on the first practice of 2016 Japanese Grand Prix Reuters

Nico Rosberg said he expects Lewis Hamilton to make a strong comeback at 2016 Japanese Grand Prix after the Briton's disastrous exit in Sepang on 2 October.

Hamilton was forced to retire from the Malaysian Grand Prix midway after he successfully converted his pole to a strong lead position due to engine fire. The Mercedes engine blew up during the 43rd lap of the race after which Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who was trailing behind, took the title.

The Mercedes driver ended up with only 265 points and trailed teammate Rosberg, who recovered from a collision in the first corner and finished on the podium in Malaysia, in the driver standings by 23 points. He fumed at his team after the race and demanded an answer for the frequent mishaps with his car.

Rosberg believes that the engine failure in Sepang will not be a deciding factor in the drivers' title battle. The championship leader also maintained his team's precautionary measure to revise the engine settings will not affect his performance at the Suzuka on Sunday.

"I do not draw encouragement from that, because I know that Lewis - when he has difficulties like that - will come back fully motivated - and that is not really an encouraging fact!" Rosberg was quoted as saying by Formula One official website.

"I am not worried - and in the end it is something that I cannot influence and I have learned over the years not to worry about things that are not in my hands. I trust the team that they will do the best they can to make sure that such an engine failure will not happen again."

On Friday, Rosberg set the pace on the opening day of practise in Japan with a fastest lap of 1:32.250s. Hamilton trailed his teammate but the defending Japan champion closed the gap on the German down to less than a second in the second session.

With five more races to go in the 2016 season, Rosberg has the edge over the defending world champion. A win at Suzuka on Sunday will help him inch closer to 2016 title and his Mercedes team will sit pretty at the top of the constructor standings.

However, Rosberg maintained he is not bothered by the numbers and that the approach has been working well for him.

"I have decided to take the approach of not letting all these things get to me - and so far it is working pretty well. I am taking it race by race - with no maths on my mind," he added.

"I came here to win the Japanese Grand Prix - that's it - and not thinking of what comes after that, of what it means in terms of statistics and points. Full stop."