#PrcGP: A turning point?
2019 FIA Formula One Pirelli Grand Prix de France – Qualifying – Saturday
Weather: FP3: sunny, 25°C air, 47-51°C track; QF: sunny, 26-26.4°C air, 54.8-52°C track
Premise: no points are given on Saturday and there’s still a LOOOONG way to go on this French Grand Prix weekend.
However, in our preview we had asked for a shining performance to provide a turning point for Antonio Giovinazzi’s – and the team’s – season and the man in car #99 duly delivered one. Antonio looked at ease from the early practice sessions, making the most of the upgraded C38 at his disposal and booking a place in the top ten on the starting grid, courtesy of a clinical performance that saw him hit that sweet spot on each of the laps he completed. It was a good team performance overall, with Kimi Räikkonen lining up only one row behind his team-mate in what promises to be a very interesting race in torrid hot conditions.
Points are given on Sunday, that we know. But Saturdays are important, too. Today, we set the foundations for our attack to the top ten – and Antonio Giovinazzi is leading that charge.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG:
“It was a good Saturday for the team and we have a good platform to target a positive result tomorrow. Antonio got the best out of the session and it’s nice to see him back in Q3 for the first time since Baku. Kimi was unlucky to miss out on the top ten for a very small margin, but he will have a free choice of tyres for the race and that should give him a good shot at the points. We’ll work hard to find a good strategy for both cars and come away from the race with something to show for our effort.”
Kimi Räikkönen (car number 7):
Alfa Romeo Racing C38 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
3rd practice: 10th / 1:31.943 (16 laps) / QF: 12th / 1:30.533 (14 laps)
“The new parts we brought to this race have given us something more and we were definitely competitive enough to get into Q3. Unfortunately, I made a mistake on my last Q2 lap, so it wasn’t a surprise to be out of the top ten. We’re still in a good position for the race: we can choose our tyres and the car is working quite well, so I guess we’ll find out how it goes tomorrow.”
Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):
Alfa Romeo Racing C38 (Chassis 02/Ferrari)
3rd practice: 12th / 1:32.171 (15 laps) / QF: 10th / 1:33.420 (17 laps)
“I am very happy about our performance today. It’s been a positive qualifying and I am very pleased to be back in the top ten. There were a few factors behind this result: the new upgrades package seems to be working well and we were able to make the most of the tyres in these conditions. The track kept improving from lap to lap, so it was important to nail the last one in each part of qualifying. The only negative aspect is that we will be one of only two cars starting on soft tyres, but we can find a strategy that helps us stay in the points. We have good pace and hopefully we can get the good result that has been eluding us for too long.”