Fernando Alonso said that he was pleased with how Ferrari had performed on during Friday practice at Spa-Francorchamps, which gave him the chance to run the car in both wet conditions in the morning and then dry and sunny after lunch.

"This was a good day, even if in the morning we, and in fact everyone, lost time because of the rain and so in the afternoon we found ourselves facing double the workload," he said, on the first official day back from F1's month-long mid-season summer holiday break. "In terms of today's times, we have got closer to the favourites."

But with a wet race very much in the realm of possibilities, Alonso said that he still wasn't sure which he would prefer in terms of the type of conditions that would give him the most chance of being competitive on Sunday.

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"Before drawing any conclusions, we need to wait for the analysis of the data acquired [Friday] afternoon from both cars," he said. "Felipe and I tried different aero configurations, with more and less downforce, which will be the real key to this race, along with the weather.

"I'm not sure which weather forecast I would prefer. It's true that in the rain, the cards on the table can be shuffled up, but in the wet there are as many chances to benefit as there are to lose," he added. "It will be important to have a good understanding of how the tyres are behaving in the dry."

Alonso added that he wasn't worried by the tyre situation after his championship leader Sebastian Vettel suffered a puncture in the afternoon session as did Alonso himself on an in-lap.

"I don't think it's a similar problem to what we saw in Silverstone, maybe more of a random set of circumstances, but all the same, it needs careful analysis," he said.

"Today, the changeable weather had a big effect on the way free practice was run, with minimal running in the first session," agreed Alonso's team mate Felipe Massa . "But if we want to look at things in terms of a glass half full, then at least the few laps we managed in the morning were important, to give us an idea of the behaviour of the car in the wet, which is always useful here in Spa."

Massa said that they'd still manage to complete their full programme of testing in the dry afternoon session despite losing much of the morning running to the typically fickle Ardennes weather.

Ferrari's technical director Pat Fry was also keeping one eye turned skywards this weekend. "The race at Spa has always been a great challenge for the drivers and also for us engineers and this year, that seems to be very much the case, partly because of the uncertainty of the weather, which today was inclement enough to affect the running of our programme.

"Having a track that is only partially wet is the worst possible condition to start working on car set-up, because it limits the time available to test the balance and driveability with different aerodynamic loads," Fry continued, explaining why despite the possibility of a wet race tomorrow, Ferrari and the other teams had done relatively little running in FP1.

"In the afternoon, we only partly made up for the time lost because of the rain as we evaluated all the possible scenarios on a track that requires an aerodynamic compromise that is one of a kind," he added. "Here, the rain is the big unknown and it certainly won't help anyone."