Michael Schumacher has paid tribute to the abilities of Renault driver Fernando Alonso, the only man within half a second of the Ferraris in qualifying at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Alonso was third on the grid - 0.471secs behind Schumacher's pole position time and nearly 0.4secs ahead of Trulli.
It was another impressive performance from the 21-year-old Spaniard, who has been one of the stars of the season so far in only his second year in F1.
"Fernando is doing an outstanding job, but then I thought he did that with
Minardi [in 2001]," said Schumacher. "He has consistently improved and shown his capabilities."
Alonso and Renault team-mate Jarno Trulli had gone into the session with high hopes of repeating their one-two from Malaysia, but had to be content with outpacing rivals McLaren and Williams.
Alonso, who has finished third twice already this season, said: "The feeling is very special here in Barcelona to be fighting with the top teams. Tomorrow we have a very good chance to score many points."