November 16th, 2019

#SaoGP: Building on Saturday

2019 FIA Formula One Heineken Grande Prêmio do Brasil – Qualifying – Saturday
Weather: FP3: overcast 21.8-19.4°C air, 44.5-32.3°C track; Q: overcast, 21.4-20.1°C air, 35.6-30.3°C track

There is no real glory on Saturdays. There can be the fleeting satisfaction of a good result, but no tangible reward comes out of qualifying. The second day of track action is a crucial one, but just as a building block: you lay the foundations for things to come on Sunday. That’s when it really matters.

Still, placing a car in Q3 (and one outside of it by a very small margin) is the kind of result that leaves us optimistic for the remainder of this Brazilian Grand Prix weekend. Kimi Räikkönen delivered a clinical display when it mattered, clearing each hurdle on his way to ninth place – and a P8 start on tomorrow’s grid. On the track where he was crowned World Champion in 2007, Kimi showed his class. Antonio missed out on a place in the top ten for just 0.06s. On such a short track, in a crowded midfield, he pushed hard and gave it all, but in the end he ended up just short. Starting in P12 still gives him a great chance to make up places and return to the points.

Brazil is no stranger to eventful races. On such a congested track, strategy, pace and sheer luck all play a part, even if the weather does not intervene. Tomorrow’s showpiece event will be long and unpredictable: but we did all we could to give ourselves the best chance for when the lights go out.

Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG: “We can be satisfied with today’s work, but we cannot get too carried away. Sunday is when the points are given out and we have a lot of work ahead of us to maximise our starting position. We have done a good job today and our race pace looked positive in practice, so we can hope for a competitive race. We will do our homework tonight and come prepared to make the most of our opportunities tomorrow.”

Kimi Räikkönen (car number 7):
Alfa Romeo Racing C38 (Chassis 06/Ferrari)
3rd practice: 11th / 1:09.619 (21 laps) / Q: 9th / 1:08.984 (20 laps)

“We can be happy with today’s result. The margins in the midfield are very close and you can make up a lot of places with just a small difference, but we will take P9 and see what we can do in the race tomorrow. I still feel we have margin for improvement, there is a lot more we can achieve but in the end you always want more. It’s hard to tell how the race will unfold but we will try to do a good job and bring home a good result on Sunday.”

Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):
Alfa Romeo Racing C38 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
3rd practice:8th / 1:09.462 (20 laps) / Q: 13th / 1:08.919 (14 laps)

“I knew I had a chance to be in the top ten, so I pushed very hard on my last lap of Q2. Unfortunately I spun and ended up missing the cut for just 0.06s. It is what it is, we knew the margins would be very small on such a short track but we still have a good chance to get in the points tomorrow. I was pleased with our race pace yesterday and we can choose our starting tyres, so hopefully we can make up a few places in the race.”