Fernando Alonso said his initial feelings about his chances in Belgium this weekend were positive, despite a rain-affected start to proceedings at Spa during Friday practice.

The Spaniard was second quickest for Ferrari behind the Red Bull of Mark Webber in the limited dry running available in FP2, with McLaren pair Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton in third and fourth.

Speaking following the session, Alonso said he was happy with the initial feeling of his Ferrari during the sessions but said the results of practice showed that it was going to be a close weekend on track.

"Even if I only managed a few laps in the dry, my initial feeling is positive; the car is well balanced and there are no major changes needed for the rest of the weekend," he said. "Sure, it's always difficult to get a complete picture after a day like this, but as I said at the start, we have got off on the right foot. That is important because it's never nice to have to make a major set-up change from Friday to Saturday, thus tackling the second day almost in the dark.

"Our main opponents were also very strong, from the little we could see; the Red Bull had a great top speed and was still quickest in the second sector, which shows good all-round performance and McLaren also looked good.

Team-mate Felipe Massa was fifth quickest in the second Ferrari but admitted that the conditions had ensured it was a 'strange day'

"It's hard to make much sense of such a strange day: first it was dry, then wet and then it repeated itself," he said. "Luckily, at least we managed to try both types of slick tyre brought here by Pirelli, even if just for a few laps. Along with the engineers we will have to try and interpret the data in the best way possible to make the right choices. In any case, first impressions, from what I can tell, are positive.

"We have some new parts and I think we will use them for the rest of the weekend, because they have allowed us to improve our performance. Where we are compared to the others, we will only know tomorrow in qualifying. I really like this track a lot: maybe it's lost some of its excitement in some corners, such as Eau Rouge, which is now practically a straight, but it is still great to drive a Formula 1 car on a track like this."


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