Ferrari show flexibility ahead of race to be defined by small margins

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There were no real surprises on practice day in Barcelona with all the main protagonists from this season showing pace ahead of qualifying for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel, a winner in 2011, edged out Fernando Alonso in Friday’s warm-up with team-mate Mark Webber back in third.

Red Bull and Ferrari have shown once again at the beginning of the weekend that they are ready for battle, but with the conditions changing from wet to dry throughout both practices, it was not a day of analysis to put too much faith in.

Three-time champion Vettel was first to admit that the morning was a waste of time for his team but the afternoon’s performance was enough for the German to be happy going into qualifying.

In the wet-dry first session Alonso led Felipe Massa with the Italian constructors looking to have all bases covered whatever the conditions come Sunday.

On a day where a lot of the teams were testing the water to see what effect their performance upgrades would have, it’s clear that McLaren are still struggling to find the right balance.

Many believe that for the Woking-based outfit to complete qualifying they may have to take some precious pace out of the car to prevent degradation in the actual race and so it seems that another disappointing weekend for drivers Jenson Button and Sergio Perez is in store.

The two drivers finished 12th and 13th respectively in practice and it speaks volumes that McLaren’s sporting director Sam Michael was trying to douse even increasingly low-set expectations.

The Williams team have also struggled this term and like McLaren their upgrades don’t seem to be having the desired effect.

The market is unsurprisingly dominated by Vettel at 15/8 and Alonso at 9/4 and at this stage if there is any value it could lie with the Ferrari man to claim a second race win where it matters most.

All Odds and Markets correct as of the date of publishing.

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