Fernando Alonso finished the opening day of the Singapore Grand Prix in optimistic mood after a problem-free day allowed him to complete his preparatory programme.

The Spaniard surprised the pack by topping the times in the opening 90-minute session, and confirmed that the performance had been no fluke when he lined up second-fastest in the evening session, just over a tenth shy of Lewis Hamilton's ultimate pace in the Mercedes.

"As always, Friday in Singapore is a bit different to what it is at other tracks, as its characteristics mean it is one of a kind and driving here at night is always exciting," Alonso commented, "However, the feeling is more or less the same as usual on a first day of practice, as we were reasonably competitive in both sessions and we got through the programme without any problems."

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Although the two tyre compounds selected by Pirelli for the Singapore event are next to each other on the characteristics chart, the supersoft proved to be a lot quicker - and a fair bit more fragile - than the soft.

"The two compounds we have for this race behaved as expected and, of the two, the supersoft produced more grip," Alonso confirmed, "It was a regular day from that point of view and everything went off as normal."

Despite having to deal with reliability niggles on the sister car, tech chief Pat Fry was encouraged by Alonso's pace ahead of one of the toughest events of the year.

"Although Friday's times count for little, and it's difficult to string together a run of clean laps because of traffic, our drivers' pace is encouraging," he reported, "It's very difficult to overtake in Singapore and it will be very important to do as well as possible in qualifying so as to be well placed for the race."