Alonso Excited ahead of Race

A relaxed Fernando Alonso claimed his Spanish Grand Prix had got off to the perfect start on Friday - thanks to the huge support of the local fans and the fact the team were able to sort out their tyre choice without major dramas

Alonso Excited ahead of Race

Although the World Championship leader ended up ninth at the end of the day, two places behind teammate Giancarlo Fisichella, Alonso was pleased with the way he had run through the team's programme.

"Today was really special for me, to be out on the circuit this morning and able to see the support in the stands," said the Spaniard. "I know there are lots of people coming to the race from all around Spain, so I am excited for the weekend.

"This afternoon, we got down to work properly, and as usual, we had to choose between the two tyres. We did a good job, because the choice is pretty clear.

"The grip levels on the track were not very high, but that is normal on the first day, and things will pick up as we go on. Even so, the car handling felt good, and it was comfortable to drive. We had no problems, so it's a good start for me."

Both Alonso and Fisichella limited their running in the morning's first session - in a bid to preserve their engines and because the dirty track conditions meant it was almost pointless to try and work out tyre data that early in the day.

Fisichella said: "We ran plenty of laps today in order to get a clear idea of the tyre behaviour at this circuit where their performance during the race will be very important.

"I think we have a better idea on the direction we need to choose than at the previous races this year, which is a positive start. Performance-wise, I think our pace is good, and the chassis balance is very close to being what I need in the long runs. I am looking forward to tomorrow."

After the engine dramas that over-shadowed Alonso's race weekend at the San Marino Grand Prix, Renault's head of engine operations Denis Chevrier said he had no worries about the early performance of the B-spec units both drivers are using this weekend.

"From the engine side, we were able to run the B spec engines in both cars for the first time, and they performed well as we fine-tuned the mapping," he explained. "So far, so good."

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