Despite seeing his Friday running hit by a potential hydraulic issue, Giancarlo Fisichella emerged as best of the rest behind McLaren and Ferrari ahead of the Formula 1 season finale in Brazil.

The Italian was one of a number of drivers who only completed limited running during the opening session of the weekend, although in his case it was more to do with the need to resolve a possible hydraulic issue with his R27 than the wet weather - with the Renault squad working to fix the problem ahead of the race weekend itself.

However, having switched to the T-car for the second session, Fisichella was a solid fifth fastest behind Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen - a result he was pleased with going into Saturday.

"I think we are in good shape after our first day of work here," he said. "The circuit was improving all the time this afternoon, but we made good progress with the set-up as well, and I think we were quite competitive. They have done a fantastic job with the resurfacing work, and the circuit is much better to drive now. The grip level was a bit low in the wet, but this afternoon it felt very good. Now we need to work hard overnight so we can build from this promising start to the weekend.

Team-mate Heikki Kovalainen elected to head out onto the track during the opening session to set the third quickest time. Although he slipped back to twelfth in the second session, the Finn said he was pleased with the balance of the car and just needed to find a bit more pace.

"We got a lot done today in spite of the tricky conditions, and the basic balance of the car seems good," he said. "I need to find a little more pace from the car but I think we have some good directions for our work this evening, so we can do it. I learned the circuit quickly and I must say that I am really enjoying driving it, it is a fun track with a good mix of corners and gradient. I am looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow."

 

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