Fernando Alonso says Ferrari has to "optimise everything" at the Belgian Grand Prix to make up for its engine deficit.

With the high-speed Spa circuit likely to favour the Mercedes-powered teams, Alonso was third fastest in both practice sessions on Friday and close to the pace of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Alonso admitted it had been an encouraging day for Ferrari but said it was having to work hard to make up for its lack of power.

"Compared to the other race weekends, the story is a bit different here, because Spa is a high-speed circuit and, after a month off, getting back to racing at a fantastic track like this is a real pleasure," Alonso said. "It was nice to be able to run in the dry today. The weather is always changeable here and in fact, the possibility of rain is forecast for tomorrow, therefore, as usual, we will ensure we are ready for whatever comes our way.

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"At this track, and at Monza, engine performance counts for a lot. We know there is no magic solution but we will nevertheless try to optimise everything. The car behaved as we expected from our simulations and that is definitely something positive."

Engineering director Pat Fry agreed with Alonso and said that Ferrari had been trying to improve the car's efficiency to increase performance.

"We are working hard on the efficiency of the car in general and on the thermal energy side of the Power Unit, but I think that at tracks like this one and Monza, which highlights these characteristics on our rivals' cars, we will have to try and defend with all means available and attack where and when possible," Fry said.