December 12th, 2020

Antonio reaches Q2 as qualifying wraps up for 2020

2020 FIA Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Qualifying – Saturday
Weather: FP3: sunny 24.7-24.6°C air, 37.9-36.0°C track; Q: clear night, 23.3-23.3°C air, 29.8-27.3°C track

Antonio Giovinazzi claimed P14 in qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Italian driver performed strongly at Yas Marina, clinching the intra-team qualifying battle 9-8 in the process. Kimi Räikkönen was 16th, the first of the drivers to miss the cut in Q1. They will line up in P14 and P15 in tomorrow’s race.

The sun setting over Yas Marina was an apt metaphor for the final qualifying session of the season. As the red ball of fire disappeared over the horizon and the darkness of night set in, we closed another chapter of the 2020 season, with just the race now left to wrap up the campaign.

On a cooling track as the light disappeared, our drivers always had a clear edge over their direct rivals, effectively being locked in a battle with each other to claim a spot in Q2. Kimi had the upper hand for most of the session as pressure piled up on Antonio, who had his first timed lap cancelled for a track limits infraction.

With his final attempt of the segment, however, Antonio was able to push in front, claiming P15 and booking a spot in the second part of qualifying, where he registered the 14th time. The starting positions will allow us to fight for the points, a result that would allow us to close off the 2020 season on a positive note.

Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG:
“It was a good result for us to wrap up our qualifying efforts for 2020. It was really positive was seeing we had the measure of our direct rivals and we could fight to be in Q2, but of course is disappointing to lose a car in Q1. It’s been a very balanced qualifying fight for Antonio and Kimi and in the end it was Antonio who got the edge, both today and throughout the season. P14 and P15 on the grid, as it will likely be tomorrow, means we have a good chance to be in the fight for the points. It’s up to us to do our best to convert those positions into a top ten finish.”

Kimi Räikkönen (car number 7):
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C39 (Chassis 05/Ferrari)
3rd practice: 17th / 1:38.269 (16 laps) / Q1: 16th / 1:37.555 (6 laps)

“The car didn’t feel too bad, but my final lap in Q1 wasn’t great. The first part was ok, but I hit some kerbs in the last sector and ruined my time. It is what it is and we will need to do a good job in the race. We struggled a bit in FP3 earlier, but I am confident our race pace will be ok come tomorrow.”

Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):

Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C39 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
3rd practice: 16th / 1:37.900 (16 laps) / Q1: 1:37.075 (6 laps) / Q2: 14th / 1:38.248 (6 laps)

“I am happy with another Q2, especially as I think my final lap in Q1 was pretty good. It’s a pity to have my fastest lap in the second segment deleted, as I was pushing a lot and went a bit wide, but in the end it wouldn’t have been enough to make it to Q3, so it would not have made any difference. To have another car in Q2 is good motivation for the team. We have been making it into the top 15 more often in the final part of the season, which is a sign we have been improving the car lately: now let’s see what we can achieve tomorrow. Our target is to have a good first lap and be in the fight for the points.”