Fernando Alonso was the best of the rest on Friday in Austria. (Photo: Getty Images)

was the best of the rest on Friday in Austria. (Photo: Getty Images)

Fernando Alonso and Ferrari led the chase of Mercedes in Austria today as the former World Champion finished both practice sessions in third place.

However he said there was still a lot to be learned, especially about the tires.

“In both sessions, Kimi and I were on different programs and now we must put all the data together to choose which of the elements we tested have worked best. There were no surprises on the tire front, the supersoft seems quicker and will definitely be the tire for qualifying, but for the race, it’s impossible to establish now what the strategy will be.

“It was always cloudy today and there were even a few drops of rain, but the next days are meant to be sunny and so tire behavior could change.”

was down in 11th in both sessions, and the Finn said he’d struggled to get a clean lap in.

“Along with Fernando, we concentrated on different setup tests, me on the front end and him on the rear, so as to compare the data from the second session. In the afternoon, I had a better feeling from the car, but for various reasons, including a lack of grip, traffic and the wind, I didn’t manage to put together a good lap, or to improve in the final sector.”

Meanwhile technical director Pat Fry said: “The cold track in the morning complicated the task of getting the soft tires up to temperature, but things went better on the supersoft in the afternoon. Over the two sessions, we made various setup changes to meet the demands of the different driving styles of our drivers and we did see a slight improvement.

“Of course, we can’t say we’re pleased with that, because we still need to find the perfect balance and therefore we will need to make the most of today’s data to work on the handling of the car. Qualifying will be very close, especially because on such a short track, just a tenth of a second can win or lose you several places on the grid, so we will need to get a clean lap without traffic.”

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