'Ferrari in the leading group' – Alonso
19 April 2013 – Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso is confident that his team will be a part of the front-running group of cars at the Bahrain International Circuit on Saturday, with the two-time World Champion enjoying a positive start to the weekend in the Gulf State.
The Spaniard, who claimed victory at Shanghai last time out, completed 48 laps of the Sakhir venue on Friday and ended up fourth quickest on the combined timesheets.
"It was a positive day and we are reasonably pleased with how the car behaved," Alonso said of his time behind the wheel. "We had no major problems and more importantly, we didn’t have to make any radical changes to the F138 to adapt it to this track and its long straights and slow corners, characteristics which I like a lot and usually produce a great show in the race.
"The initial feelings are good and I think we can be up in the leading group tomorrow, a group that is all within the same two, maximum three tenths. We have not yet decided if we will use the aero updates we tried in the morning. It is not yet completely clear how they worked and in the afternoon, we concentrated on comparing the two tyre compounds we have for this race."
On the other side of the Ferrari garage, Felipe Massa finished the day sixth fastest, slipping down the order slightly after setting the pace in the morning session.
"Everything went well today, even if it’s not easy to say at the moment where we will be on Sunday," the Brazilian explained in the paddock. "The car balance was good and it behaved well in all conditions, even if we suffered a bit with tyre wear, especially at the rear. It’s pretty normal to have significant degradation in such high temperatures and on this front, we have a lot of work to do to prepare for the race.
"On the Medium compound tyres, the F138 worked really well, even over a long run, but the key on Sunday will be managing the degradation of both compounds, as well as deciding on whether or not to use the updates we tried here this morning."