Fernando Alonso admits that Ferrari could well struggle in this weekend's Korean Grand Prix after the Spaniard had to settle for seventh spot in Friday practice.
Alonso was seven tenths of a second off the pace after the Friday sessions, leaving him with work to do heading into Saturday's final practice session and qualifying.
While the double champion was keen to play down the importance of the Friday times, he admitted that he was expecting the weekend ahead to be a challenge, with his focus on trying to get as much as possible from the race as he seeks to keep his title hopes alive.
“The impressions are the usual Friday ones and to say more, we will have to wait until tomorrow and see how qualifying goes,” he said. “On this track too it's aerodynamics that make the difference and for that reason, I am not expecting too many surprises when compared to the last few Grands Prix. The time sheet follows the order that continues to be more or less the same seen in previous weekends and there is every probability that, again here, we can expect to struggle in the race.
“The difference between the two compounds is not as evident as in Singapore, but the Supersoft definitely has a very high degradation and we will have to see how much the track surface improvement will affect its behaviour. It won't be easy for us in performance terms, but we know that apart from that, we can do well on Sunday. Now, we must try and get the most out of what we have available and put everything together tomorrow and in the race.”
Team-mate Felipe Massa lost time on track with a puncture during the morning session, but said he had seen enough in second practice to leave him confident of an improved showing on his side of the garage.
“Today didn't go too badly, everything worked as it should have done and I had a good feeling in the car,” he said. “In the morning, I was unable to do much running because of a puncture on the front left tyre, then in the afternoon, we made up for lost time, managing to test everything on the programme.
“The car handled well on both the compounds that Pirelli has brought here, even if on the Supersoft we encountered particularly high degradation. On a first lap on new tyres you gain a lot at the beginning, but then you lose a lot and over the long run maybe there is more graining than with the Mediums.
“It's only Friday and we still need to understand where we are compared to our rivals. Even if we saw that Mercedes and Red Bull are very strong, I hope to have a more competitive car than in recent races, which will allow me to fight.”