Felipe Massa was encouraged after setting the pace today in practice for Sunday's inaugural Indian Grand Prix.

The Ferrari pilot finished the opening practice session in seventh, but then improved in the afternoon, posting a 1 minute 25.706 second effort, which put him almost a tenth up on Sebastian Vettel.

Speaking after the session though, the Brazilian conceded it will be tough to remain at the head of the pack.

Indeed while he reckons the Ferrari is 'competitive', he is well aware the McLarens and Red Bulls are still going to be 'very strong'.

"It's always nice to be in first place at the end of a day's work, however we know that Friday's results are all relative. Sure, it would be nice to move through the weekend in the same position, but that will be very difficult to achieve," Massa confirmed.

"Today, we concentrated on finding the best set-up on the car and on tyre behaviour on this new circuit. I like the track, it is very interesting and there are corners where driving skill can make the difference. In some places the actual track surface is very wide and so it will therefore be possible to take various different lines in the race, which could make overtaking easier. The car seems competitive, but we must wait and see what McLaren and Red Bull can do tomorrow, as they are still very strong.

"The tyres? Probably the Hards are too hard for this track and it would have been possible to run the same compounds we had in Korea in two weeks ago, because the track surface is very smooth."

Team-mate Fernando Alonso meanwhile ended the day third overall in the sister car, despite only completing four laps this morning after his engine failed. His best lap of the day was a 1m 25.930s.

"I lost almost the entire morning session because of an engine problem on my car, but fortunately I managed to make up for it in the afternoon, when I was able to run without any problems," Alonso reflected.

"Today's priority was getting to know the circuit. Furthermore, given the condition of the track surface, I don't think I lost out that much compared to the others. First impressions are positive: the car seems to behave well and we hope to continue down this route.

"I like the track, even if it is very dirty and if you go just the slightest bit off line it's like driving on ice: this could create problems during overtaking moves on Sunday, but maybe by then the situation will have changed.

"It's very nice that the track is wide in some corners and I think it will add to the spectacle, because it means you can take different lines and I think even qualifying should be very exciting, given the rather high average speed, especially through the final sector."


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