After a frustrating run of pre-season tests in Spain that were thwarted by cold weather, Ferrari was enjoying the perfect conditions they found on Friday in Melbourne, Australia for the first day of action in the 2013 F1 season.
With the sun in a cloudless sky and temperatures in the mid-20s, it was the ideal opportunity for both men to pile on the laps. Between them they managed exactly 100 circuits of Albert Park. Fernando Alonso contributing 51 of them, and Felipe Massa the remaining 49 after losing some time in the afternoon with a KERS issue.
"Overall, this was a very productive Friday, as we did a lot of laps and got through an important initial analysis of the behaviour of the two types of Pirelli tyres available for this race," said Alonso. "Our efforts were helped by particularly favourable weather with sunshine and summery temperatures.
"I'm not expecting any major surprises here, we already knew we were not the quickest and that was confirmed today," he added. "The car responds well, but we know there is still much to do if we want to fight with the very best."
“All aspects of both sessions were positive, even if we are aware that much work still awaits us both this weekend and for the whole season ahead of us," agreed Massa.
The medium compound tyres proved more durable than testing in Spain had led many drivers to fear, but the supersoft options were another matter entirely - and Massa's orientation on them was hampered by a minor technical fault on the F138.
"In the second session, when I went out on the Supersofts, something did not work properly on the KERS and that cost me time, denying me the chance of doing a better lap," explained the Brazilian driver. As a result he finished in eighth place in the FP2 standings with a lap of 1:26.855s, a tenth off Alonso's time.
"I am not surprised by the performance of our opponents and I expected Red Bull to be competitive right from the start," Massa said.
"We got through today's planned programme with both drivers, despite suffering a KERS failure on Felipe's car during his run on the supersofts in the second free practice session," elaborated the team's technical director Pat Fry.