November 28th, 2020

No shine under the qualifying lights

2020 FIA Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix – Qualifying – Saturday
Weather: FP3: clear 28.4-28.0°C air, 32.6-30.9°C track; Q: clear night, 26.4-25.8°C air, 28.3-27.3°C track

Qualifying under the Sakhir lights didn’t deliver any bright spots for the team as Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Räikkönen bowed out at the end of a very close Q1 session. After some promising signs in the earlier FP3 session, once the night set and the floodlights turned on it was not to be, as Antonio and Kimi finished the day in P16 and P17, with the Italian missing out of a spot in Q2 by a miniscule 0.027s.

The starting positions are not ideal, but the team have shown in previous races that race pace seems to be a stronger point for the C39. With Bahrain being a track that has produced eventful races in the past, there is plenty to fight for once the starting lights go out tomorrow.

Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG:
“The team did a good job to improve the car overnight but unfortunately we were still a tiny bit away from making our way into Q2. Antonio missed out by less than three hundredths, which is a very small margin, but that’s how it goes sometimes and we have to make the best of this situation tomorrow. It will be a long race on a track that can deliver unpredictable events, so we will have to get the most out of the circumstances to put one car or two in the points at the end of the day.”

Kimi Räikkönen (car number 7):
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C39 (Chassis 05/Ferrari)
3rd practice: 19th / 1:30.823 (16 laps) / Q1: 17th / 1:29.810 (6 laps)

“I feel we made a step forward with the car compared to the previous session of the weekend. The car felt better than before but it was still a tricky session and to go out in Q1 was of course not ideal. It is what it is, let’s see what we can do tomorrow. We have been better in the races so far so hopefully we can make up some ground.”

Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):

Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C39 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
3rd practice: 14th / 1:29.970 (10 laps) / Q1: 16th / 1:29.491 (6 laps)

“My fastest lap was really good and we were so close to making it to Q2, only missing out for less than half a tenth. It’s obviously frustrating but all we can do is focus on tomorrow. I was quite happy with the car but we know it will be a challenging race, especially with tyre degradation being quite high around here. Managing them and getting the strategy right will be crucial: let’s see what we can do from here and if we can bring home a good result.”