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F1: Ferrari make strong start ahead of season-opening GP

Alonso top in first session of practise, third in second

14 March, 15:47
F1: Ferrari make strong start ahead of season-opening GP (ANSA) - Melbourne, March 14 - Ferrari performed well in the first set of Formula One practise sessions Friday ahead of Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Ferrari's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso clocked the fastest time in the first session and the third-fastest in the second, behind Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Alonso's teammate Kimi Räikkönen notched the seventh-fastest time.

Sunday's race is expected to throw up surprises as the teams struggle to get to grips with a series of changes to the regulations, including the switch to turbocharged hybrid engines.

This season, Italian glamour team Ferrari are aiming to end the four-year dominance of world champions Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull outfit.

Red Bull have struggled badly in pre-season testing, but they did better than expected Friday, with Vettel finishing fourth on the timesheets and his teammate Daniel Ricciardo sixth.

"Overall it was a positive day for us," said Alonso.

"Even though there were some fears about the complexity of applying the new rules to the car, it went well. "The team have done a super job and we didn't experience any problems".

However, the Spaniard, who won the 2005 and 2006 world titles with Renault, said it was too soon to come to any conclusions.

"It's impossible to have a clear idea about our (level of) competitiveness, as the results of Friday's practices don't reveal too much," he said.

"We have to wait until we're all competing in the same conditions to know more".