Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN delivered the best qualifying result of the year on a thrilling day in Zandvoort, with Antonio Giovinazzi qualifying in P7 for tomorrow’s Dutch Grand Prix. Robert Kubica, drafted in to replace Kimi Räikkönen, overcame the difficulties of his late call-up to qualify in 18th place.
From shock to elation, today was one of those days. The news of Kimi’s positive test rocked the team, but the spirit that was shown afterwards was a true credit to everyone at Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN. Robert Kubica, who just hours before had not expected to be in the car, was able to tackle a track on which he hadn’t raced in more than 17 years, using a truncated FP3 session to acquaint himself with the circuit and qualifying a solid 18th, with less than an hour’s experience here under his belt.
The performance of the day, however, was on Antonio’s side of the garage. A stunning lap in Q1 produced fourth place, a sign of things to come. Antonio looked strong all afternoon, and even when a technical issue to a wheelnut seemed to derail his session, the team pulled through. The mechanics produced a monumental effort, fixing the car in time for Q3 – and then Antonio delivered when he had to.
P7 on the grid is the best result of the year, an equals Antonio’s own career best. A strong response after a difficult day to show the spirit of this team. Race day, tomorrow, is when points are given out, and we’ll need to be on form then as well. We’ll be ready as we’ve been ready to tackle today.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN: “Our best qualifying performance of the year comes at the end of a rollercoaster of a day here in Zandvoort. Of course, the morning started with the news about Kimi, but I was proud of the way the team responded. Robert was able to get up to speed quickly, despite this being a challenging track on which he had no recent experience, and then Antonio produced a really good performance to qualify seventh. The team really pulled together in a difficult moment to show its spirit: now we need to convert today’s result into points.”
Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C41 (Chassis 05/Ferrari)
FP3: 15th / 1:11.299 (19 laps)
Q1: 1:10.050 (8 laps)
Q2: 1:10.033 (11 laps)
Q3: 7th / 1:09.590 (17 laps)
“Today’s result feels really good, and I need to give big thanks to the team. We had a technical issue to a wheelnut between Q2 and Q3, but the crew did an amazing job: they did everything they could and they were able to put me back on track. Then I had to really push hard as I wanted to repay them for their work: the lap in Q3 was mega. We will start from a good position in tomorrow’s race, we need to continue pushing, stay out of trouble and use this opportunity to bring home a good result.”
Robert Kubica (car number 88):
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C41 (Chassis 02/Ferrari)
FP3: 19th / 1:12.162 (27 laps)
Q1: 18th / 1:11.301 (9 laps)
“My job as a reserve driver is to be ready to stand in, but you never wish for the need to arise. I hope Kimi gets better soon. Considering the short notice and the little practice I had, I think today went ok. This is quite a demanding track, one I had to learn almost from scratch, and practice went quite quickly, but I think I maximised the time I had today. Unfortunately, on the final outlap in Q1 I was affected by the traffic and couldn’t get the tyres in the right window, and that ruined my lap. Tomorrow will be a long race, let’s see what we can do.”