Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN qualified in 14th and 15th position for tomorrow’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, in a session in which the team couldn’t express all its potential. Zhou Guanyu was flawless in Q1, finishing 9th, but an ill-timed yellow flag in Q2 meant that, for the second race in succession, our qualifying attempts were stymied.
Still, the Baku Street Circuit is a place where overtaking is possible and races are known to be chaotic: the aim for the team will be to move forward quickly and return to the fight within the top ten on Sunday.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal: “It’s not where we expected to be, but we know how the session unfolded and we know this result doesn’t really reflect our potential. We had both cars in Q2, Zhou was P5 with his first run and P9 at the end of Q1 with the only truly representative laps we did in the whole session: unfortunately, in Q2 we didn’t really get the chance to set a proper time and we had to settle with P14 and P15. Our aim was to be at the top of the train in the final run, and we had achieved that – unfortunately, the yellow flag never gave us the chance to show what we could do. Now let’s just focus on the race: we know our car has got pace and that this track allows overtaking. We are confident we can move forward with both cars; we anticipate an eventful Sunday, so everything can happen.”
Valtteri Bottas (car number 77):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN C42 (Chassis 03/Ferrari)
FP3: 19th / 1:45.574 (17 laps)
Q1: 1:44.478 (9 laps)
Q2: 15th / 1:44.444 (4 laps)
“Qualifying was a bit strange and we’re definitely not where we wanted to be. Tyre temperature was a key factor this afternoon, and I struggled to get the softs to work in the first push lap; in the second one, the feeling was a lot better, but unfortunately the yellow flag at the end of Q2 meant I didn’t even get to give it a try. I reckon I would have improved, but it was not to be. Nevertheless, our race pace was good yesterday and we know anything can happen in the race: it’s all to play for, I am positive we can do some good overtaking tomorrow and climb up the grid.”
Zhou Guanyu (car number 24):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN C42 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
FP3: 14th / 1:44.913 (18 laps)
Q1: 1:43.777 (9 laps)
Q2: 14th / 1:43.790 (4 laps)
“We did a massive step forward throughout the weekend and I believe we had a lot more potential than P14 today: a place in Q3 would have been possible, perhaps, although the field is so tight so you can’t really say. We had prepped our tyres for a good second push lap, as we saw that was the moment in which they perform at their best, but the yellow flag with Tsunoda badly affected both our cars and prevented us from improving. In general, I am happy with the progress we have made and I think we have good pace for the race: hopefully we can put everything together and bring home some points.”