Giancarlo Fisichella admits he is more 'optimistic' than usual following practice for the Italian Grand Prix, the Italian impressing home fans by finishing the day with the third fastest time in the afternoon.

Fisichella, who needs a good result this weekend to aid the fight for his drive with Renault in 2008, was consistently faster than team-mate Heikki Kovalainen over the day for the first time in a while.

Running as the 'best of the rest' for the majority of the morning session, a flurry of late times bumped Fisichella down to seventh, but he hit back in the afternoon to be the fastest non-McLaren driver.

It combines to make Fisichella confident ahead of qualifying, although he admits it is likely to be typically close.

Today went a bit better than normal, and I am more optimistic than at the last few races. We worked through the programme without any problems, we made good progress with the set-up of the car and by the end of the day, the balance was not too bad.

"Qualifying will be tough, especially because the times seem even closer than usual here at Monza. But it was a good first day and a positive start to the weekend.



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