Fernando Alonso topped FP1 and was second to Lewis Hamilton in FP2 in China today as Ferrari showed a marked improvement in form.
While the car’s ultimate lap time may have been flattered by the team’s chosen fuel load, there were nevertheless genuine signs of an upturn.
“All Fridays are the same, a day when you especially need to test the tires to adapt to the circuit,” said Alonso. “And on this front, maybe it was less useful than usual, because the forecast for tomorrow suggests rain is on the way. We have brought some small updates here, which we already tried at the Bahrain test. Everything worked well and that’s good news. Leaving aside the performance of the others, I am happy with what we have done today.
“At every race, all the teams bring something new and we must try and make an additional step forward if we want to be competitive. This track is particularly tough on tires, with the Softs especially suffering from graining over a long run, so it will be important to work out the tire plan for Sunday. If it rains tomorrow, we will definitely have less information for the race and we will have to rely on guesswork. Let’s hope we make the right choices.”
Meanwhile Kimi Raikkonen had a difficult day after losing FP1 to a car problem.
“It’s been a particularly demanding Friday, both for the drivers on track and for the guys in the garage,” said engineering director Pat Fry. “In the first session, Kimi’s car stayed in the garage throughout the session after completing his installation lap. With Fernando we managed to complete several aerodynamic tests and carry out some checks on the power unit. The afternoon ran more smoothly and with both cars we worked on balance and power delivery.
“Even if we are making progress on all fronts, we are well aware that it’s always hard to know where you stand on a Friday. Today’s low temperatures affected tire performance, and even if we can expect the track surface to be in better condition tomorrow, the rain expected for qualifying could turn the session into a real lottery.”Chinese GP, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari