Fernando Alonso believes Ferrari made a step forward on Friday during practice for the German Grand Prix - and has now returned to the level competitiveness enjoyed pre-Silverstone.

Alonso had to sit out the first session at the Nurburgring due to a problem on the electrical system on his F138.

However he bounced back in the afternoon completing 39 laps, his best effort a 1 minute 31.056 seconds, and despite being 0.640 seconds off the top time, the Spaniard was upbeat about his prospects for the ninth round in the 2013 F1 World Championship.

"Today went better than last Friday and even if there is still a long way to go, in general we seem to have made a step forward and returned to the level of competitiveness which we had prior to Silverstone," Alonso said. "One of the positives was the behaviour of the tyres which worked well today and did not create any problems.

"Unfortunately, we lost the morning session because of a programming problem on the electronic control unit, which we then changed. That halved our work programme and this evening we will have to do all we can to make up for it.

"But we already have an idea of where and how to make changes, because Mercedes, Red Bull and Lotus are ahead of us and we want something better than being the third or fourth team in the classification".

Team-mate Felipe Massa meanwhile was sixth this morning and seventh this afternoon, his quickest lap a 1m 31.059s - which left him just 0.003s off the sister car.

"It was a particularly busy day, because we had a lot of things to test and we did as many laps as possible in order to complete the programme. We split the time between assessing the Pirelli tyres and a long run test," Massa added.

"There is a big difference between the two compounds, caused by the high degradation of the Softs compared to the Mediums and it will be interesting to see how much influence this will have in the race. As usual, choosing the right strategy will be very important.

"Qualifying remains our weak point, because usually we are less competitive than in the race and that's why we will do our utmost to try and start from as far up the grid as possible. Over a long run, the car behaved well and this makes me very confident for Sunday."