Ferrari happy with improved Formula One pace

Ferrari pair Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa said they were happy with the improved performance of their cars after some positive times during the practice sessions for the Canadian Grand Prix.

Despite fears that Ferrari would struggle to match the pace of rival teams, a new and improved exhaust system helped Spaniard Alonso and Brazilian Massa to finish the day second and third fastest respectively, around a tenth of a second slower than pace-setter Briton Lewis Hamilton of McLaren.

The two drivers said they were impressed with the new exhaust system but refused to get carried away.

Double world champion Alonso said: "I am pleased with the way things went. This morning, we concentrated mainly on evaluating some new updates.

"The first indications seem to be positive, but it is much too soon to draw any conclusions as Friday times should never be taken at face value."

Massa, 31, said the improved performance had helped with the balance of his car.

"I think we can be happy with the fact that the updates we have brought here worked. The intention is to keep the car in this new configuration.

"The car seems to be well balanced and it seemed to me to be pretty consistent in terms of performance. To sum up, this has been the best Friday of 2012. Let's hope that can continue through Saturday and Sunday as well."

Ferrari technical director Pat Fry added: "We brought two different exhaust configurations here, one was the one used in the last two races, the other represents our latest interpretation of the concept that was part of the car when it made its debut at Jerez.

"From what we could see today, the latter configuration seems to be positive in terms of performance even if, obviously, we need to analyse the data very carefully to make the right choices for the race."

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