It was a mixed message coming from Fernando Alonso after the first two free practice sessions in Monaco on Thursday. On the one hand, the Spaniard was happy about the way the car handled, but equally, he maintains that there has been little or no change in the pecking order for Spain.
"It's only Thursday," he said, after setting the fastest time in FP2. "We know that Red Bull are testing various features during the practice sessions and will then be very fast on Saturday. I expect them to be very strong in qualifying. Things can't change all that much in five days, so Red Bull remain the favourites for qualifying and for the race."
He also reminded reporters that Monaco is a unique circuit where a lot can happen. It is all too easy to make mistakes here, and DRS introduces a new risk factor. At the same time, though, he emphasised that Ferrari had to take risks in all departments: "We are not strong enough to take the others on, so we take risks in every session, every qualifying and every race. We need to give our very best if we want to narrow the gap."
In Monaco, however, it should be a little easier, as the car has felt good right from the start. He was able to push more and more with each successive lap: "The car doesn't spring any nasty surprises; it responds well. In Monte Carlo, it's all about having confidence in your car and getting a good setup – one that allows you to brake just that little bit later and to go into the corners faster, a setup that lets you get closer to the barriers without increasing the danger. At the moment, the car is opening up these possibilities for me."