Fernando Alonso was encouraged following practice on Friday for the Spanish Grand Prix and while he has warned it won't be easy, he is convinced the Scuderia will be able to 'fight it out with the best' this weekend.

Alonso topped the times this morning in front of his home fans in the first session at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya, and came close to doing it in the second as well, only to be pipped by Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel, who was 0.017 seconds quicker.

Speaking at the end of the day, he added that he doesn't expect any 'great surprises compared to Bahrain' three weeks ago.

"The signs from today are positive, as we were quick in both the morning and afternoon and the car seems to be well balanced on light and heavy fuel loads," he stated. "The feeling is definitely good and even though we are aware it won't be easy, we are sure we can fight it out with the best.

"I don't expect any great surprises compared to Bahrain and I think the top group is now defined, with Red Bull, Mercedes, ourselves and Lotus, although we need to see how much McLaren manages to improve, while also keeping an eye on Force India, who have been very strong in qualifying and the race.

"We have a great deal of data to analyse this evening [now], especially because the rain in the morning meant we had to squeeze almost all our planned programme into the second session when it was dry."

Team-mate Felipe Massa meanwhile was also optimistic and he too was on the pace - setting the second best time in the opening session, before finishing up fifth in FP2.

"Everything went well today, even if this morning's rain reduced the amount of time we had to test everything we had planned for the first session," stated the Brazilian.

"We began that job as soon as the track dried and then finished it off in the afternoon session, paying maximum attention to the handling of the car on both types of tyre Pirelli has brought on this track, especially the new hard. Even on the long run, the car seemed competitive and this makes me confident and so I hope we can continue to do well right to the end of the weekend".


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