AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly was looking in exceptionally strong form throughout Friday's practice sessions for the Qatar Grand Prix at the Losail International Circuit.
Gasly was second quickest in both FP1 and FP2, with eMax Verstappen pipping him in the earlier session and Valtteri Bottas top in the evening in floodlight conditions once the sun set.
Gasly had closed the gap to the frontrunner to just two tenths in FP2 and was delighted to be looking so strong this weekend although he insisted it hadn't been plain sailing in the cockpit.
“It’s been a very good Friday, the best of the season so far I’d say," the French driver beamed after the end of the day's track activity.
"Inside of the car it doesn’t feel that easy, but the lap times are looking really good," he beamed. "I think in terms of balance we can do even better for tomorrow, so we’ll try and work on that tonight.
"We’re looking very competitive at the moment, so we’ll hope to be up there with Mclaren and Ferrari again in quali," he added.
"Our target is of course to be as far up the grid as possible, but we’re obviously realistic."
Gasly's team mate Yuki Tsunoda also confirmed the team's strong form this weekend by finishing fifth in FP1 and seventh in FP2.
"It was good out there today with the car looking quite strong so far," commented the Japanese driver. "The car performed well."
"Coming to a new track always means there is a lot to cover on a Friday," commented AlphaTauri chief race engineer Jonathan Eddolls.
"We had a busy run plan across both cars, with the main aim being to understand the circuit and therefore the set-up requirements, tyres and aero configuration.
"The process is made harder with FP1 happening during the hottest part of the day and FP2 during the early evening, with around 15°C difference in track temperatures across the sessions.
"We were able to cover our run plans and all test items and so far we’re looking competitive, particularly over the short runs which were very good for both drivers.
"The longer runs were a bit more of a challenge for the tyres, so for sure there is some work to do for tomorrow.
"But we have captured a lot of good data for analysis tonight and we have a great team of engineers who will work relentlessly to extract the maximum performance."