Michael Schumacher said he was pleased with a top ten position after a mixed Friday practice for Mercedes at Suzuka.
The German was eighth quickest in both sessions ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix having admitted that he car was running better than expected and he will now hope for a clean run in qualifying – which is expected to held in wet conditions where the seven-time champion should shine.
"It's a great feeling to be driving this track again,” he said. “It's really fun and a great challenge. I have always loved Suzuka and particularly the first sector which is cool and demanding at the same time. If you get it right, you enjoy it big time.
“I'm pleased with our practice today as the car looks better than I had expected here and I didn't face any real issues. So now we hope for a clean qualifying tomorrow where we will try to achieve as much as we can."
However, while Schumacher was happy with his performance, there was disappointment for team-mate Nico Rosberg – who finished the day eleventh quickest after running into a gearbox issue during the morning session.
"It's been quite a challenging Friday for me,” he said. “Unfortunately my morning was hampered by a gearbox issue which cost me some running time at the end of the session which wasn't ideal. From then on, I just haven't been as happy with the car here. I had a lot of understeer which we haven't established the reason for, so we need to look into that overnight.
“Things started to come together more on the option tyre which gives me hope that we can build on that progress tomorrow. It should be an interesting weekend with the rain so we will try to make the best of that."