Alonso Optimistic after Practice

World Championship leader Fernando Alonso was cautiously optimistic about his Renault's team chances of continuing their brilliant start to the season after setting the second fastest time on the first day of practice in Bahrain

Alonso Optimistic after Practice

Although Alonso ended the day 1.2 seconds off pace-setter Alexander Wurz in the McLaren, there was little reason to be concerned with third cars usually being allowed to run fresher tyres and with unrestricted engines.

"I have no worries after the opening day: the car balance was pretty good, and we seemed quite quick," said Alonso. "However, we must be cautious with our choices here: we have only raced at this track once, and the conditions on Friday are very different to those we will meet in the Grand Prix.

"The circuit today was still quite low grip, but it should improve through the rest of the weekend."

Teammate Giancarlo Fisichella had a less successful day, ending the session down in seventh position after suffering intermittent oversteer problems.

"My day went quite well: there is still work to do on the balance, because the car had some oversteer during the sessions today, but the other aspects of the handling seem to be working well," explained the Italian. "It was hot out there on track, but now we have come through Malaysia, I don't think the conditions will be a problem for the drivers in the race."

The happiest man at Renault, however, was director of engineering Pat Symonds who was delighted that a lack of mechanical dramas meant there was plenty of data for the team to evaluate overnight.

"Our programmes both ran very smoothly today, which means we have good quality data to work with this evening," said Symonds. "We completed more laps than usual in order to get a better handle on the tyre choice, which should help us with our analysis.

"The car balance was reasonable straight away today but, as always, we still have some room for improvement before tomorrow."

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