Michael Schumacher is hopeful of being able to take the fight to Ferrari during the Brazilian Grand Prix after an encouraging start to the weekend.
Mercedes has been the fourth fastest car in recent races, but has not been able to mount a serious challenge to the top three teams on pace. But after ending today's running just 0.125sec off Fernando Alonso and ahead of the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa, Schumacher believes that it could be possible to do so.
"It is an interesting question," he said when asked whether today's practice pace showed Mercedes could be a potential Ferrari-beater. "Everything is a little bit more close together here, so there is definitely a small opportunity with a perfect weekend."
Schumacher, who still has a chance of beating teammate Nico Rosberg (who was eighth fastest today) to seventh place in the championship was pleased with the progress made by Mercedes at Interlagos on Friday. The team had little trouble finding a good setup and Schumacher was upbeat about the work done.
"It was a good Friday without trouble," he said. "The circuit made it relatively easy to find a balance at least."