Kimi Raikkonen may have topped both free practice sessions on the opening day of the Chinese Grand Prix meeting, but he insists that there is still work to do before he is entirely happy with the handling of his Ferrari.

Raikkonen, who retains an outside chance of depriving Lewis Hamilton of the world title, led the other hopeful, Fernando Alonso, in both 90-minute sessions, but only by the slimmest of margins, pipping the Spaniard by 0.084secs and 0.006secs respectively. As usual, the seldom-used track was very green in the first session of the day, but gradually rubbered in, allowing Raikkonen to up the pace after lunch.

"It was a good day, even if the Friday results have to be considered for what they are, given that we do not know what our main rivals are up to," the Finn said, cautiously, "The car quickly proved to be well balanced, but there is still room to improve the handling. The track was very slippery but, luckily, there are plenty of escape roads so that any mistakes don't cost a driver anything. I'm expecting a very close fight tomorrow."

The top four drivers - two each from McLaren and Ferrari - lined up in the same order in both the morning and afternoon sessions, with Alonso followed by Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton. All four were under the 1min 37secs barrier, the only ones to do so.

"We are all very close given that, both in the morning and in the afternoon, the first four were all within around two-tenths," Massa added, "I am happy with the first day of free practice and hope to continue in the same way for the rest of the weekend. We worked a lot on set-up and I think we are on the right track."

 

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