Having been comprehensively out-performed in Monaco a fortnight ago, Ferrari was relieved to be closer to McLaren on the opening day of the Canadian Grand Prix, even if Fernando Alonso controlled both free practice sessions at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Both Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen admitted to struggling for grip early on, but the Brazilian, in particular, turned his day around after lunch, posting the second fastest time behind Alonso as changes to his car and the track combined to provide better handling.

"We got through a lot of work during these three hours of free practice, trying various different set-ups on the car," Massa confirmed, "At the end, on new tyres, I managed to post a competitive time, which is encouraging for the rest of the weekend.

"The track surface was very slippery, especially this morning, and that made working on the car difficult. We improved it a lot over the three hours, but there is still much to do. However, I think we can fight for pole, but we will only get a good idea of where we stand compared to the others tomorrow, when we will all be in the same situation in terms of fuel load and tyres."

Team-mate Raikkonen ended the day fourth fastest, behind circuit novice Lewis Hamilton, and was a little more reticent to make predictions for Saturday.

"It is difficult to get a clear picture of the situation because the track was really slippery today, more so than we could have expected," the Finn explained, "But the grip level improved a bit in the afternoon, we got through our planned programme and now we have to study the data to work out how to improve our performance and find the best balance for the car, taking into account that the condition of the track surface should improve over the course of the weekend."

Team manager Luca Baldisserri admitted that the conditions had made getting a handle on the set-up 'rather complicated', but was confident that, by the end of the day, the Scuderia was homing in on its target.

"Bit by bit, as the track rubbered in, the situation improved and we can say we now understand in which direction we need to move forward," he clarified, "Both Kimi and Felipe are reasonably happy with the work achieved today. The pecking order seems to be more or less the same as we have seen to date this season. It's very close and it takes very little to make the balance swing one way or the other."

 

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