Fernando Alonso says he is encouraged by the progress Ferrari has made during practice for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Having been fastest in the first practice session, Alonso went second quickest in FP2 and was just over 0.1s slower than Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes. With the Ferrari looking relatively competitive on the longer runs as well, the team appears to have made a step forward and Alonso declared himself happy with how Friday had panned out.

"All Fridays are the same, a day when you especially need to test the tyres to adapt to the circuit and on this front, maybe it was less useful than usual, because the forecast for tomorrow suggests rain is on the way," Alonso said. "We have brought some small updates here, which we already tried at the Bahrain test. Everything worked well and that's good news.

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"Leaving aside the performance of the others, I am happy with what we have done today. At every race, all the teams bring something new and we must try and make an additional step forward if we want to be competitive."

However, Alonso acknowledged there is only so much Ferrari can control and said the weather forecast could make the rest of the race weekend a lottery.

"This track is particularly tough on tyres, with the Softs especially suffering from graining over a long run, so it will be important to work out the tyre plan for Sunday. If it rains tomorrow, we will definitely have less information for the race and we will have to rely on guesswork. Let's hope we make the right choices."