Fernando Alonso beat Formula One rival Michael Schumacher in Friday's practice sessions at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
On a cool and overcast day, Alonso took second in the afternoon session in 1 minute, 23.097 seconds in his Renault at the twisting Hungaroring circuit. Schumacher was eighth in 1:23.931 in his Ferrari.
"It was a good start for the weekend for me," Alonso said. "I was having some problems with the rear end to begin with but we managed to calm it down during the session and we will carry on working in that direction.
"The times seem competitive so I think we are on the right track."
Schumacher was also satisfied with his car but cautioned "we don't know how competitive are the others."
Ferrari's Felipe Massa led with a time of 1:21.778. However, teams experiment with tires and settings before Saturday's qualifying.
"It is always hard to judge the results on Friday," Schumacher said. "We need to take a close look at the data to get a clearer picture of the situation."
Alonso was involved in a minor incident in the afternoon practice. He had a hard time overtaking test driver Robert Doornbos at one point and made a hand gesture while passing him. Alonso then appeared to squeeze Doornbos over a bit. Both were called to the stewards to explain their actions.
In the morning, both Alonso and Schumacher took it easy, barely going out. Schumacher did only five laps and Alonso zero. Kimi Raikkonen, who won last year's race, led the morning session in 1:21.624, but was 25th in the afternoon in his McLaren. "The car felt really good and was quick but we struggled a little this afternoon on old tires," the Finnish driver said. Alonso, the defending champion, still leads Schumacher in the season's standings 100-89. Seven-time champion Schumacher has won the last three races with Alonso posting a second and two fifths. Robert Kubica, usually at the top of Friday practices as a test driver, sat out the morning session and was 10th in the second session.
He was promoted to race for BMW-Sauber team to replace Jacques Villeneuve, who crashed at the German GP but did not appear to be hurt.
In three of the last four Friday practices, Kubica, who will become the first Polish driver to race in Formula One, finished first.
But now he is driving a car set for a race _ and not for testing _and his laps are limited.
In 2003, Alonso triumphed at Hungaroring to become the youngest driver to win a Formula One race.
Schumacher goes into the race on the back of a convincing home victory in the German Grand Prix. Renault's technical director Pat Symonds acknowledged that defeat hurt. "We had a dreadful race in Germany for a lot of reasons and we will react to those (reasons) as fast as we possibly can," Symonds said.
Mark Webber, who is out of the Williams team's lineup for 2007, came in 22nd in the afternoon session. He will be replaced by Alexander Wurz, who was fifth in the first session and 16th in the second as a test driver for Williams.
There is another practice session Saturday morning before the qualifying in the afternoon. Sunday's race is 70 laps of the 4.381-kilometer (2.722-mile) circuit.