November 17th, 2019

#SaoGP: Sunday Surprises

2019 FIA Formula One Heineken Grande Prêmio do Brasil – Race – Sunday
Weather: sunny, 22.6-20.1°C air, 54.0-37.8°C track

Certain days are full of surprises. We knew it would be a good day right from the start, when both Kimi and Antonio leapt forward from their grid spots and straight into the top ten; but when Valtteri Bottas’s retirement triggered a Safety Car that bunched the pack up, we couldn’t imagine it would lead to the crazy final ten laps of the race we witnessed today.

On a day when the field was shaken up and the midfield came to the fore, we celebrate our team’s best result of the season. Kimi crossed the line in P5, one spot ahead of Antonio in P6: these positions were later amended to P4 and P5 due to a penalty to Lewis Hamilton. The 22 points we brought home were a huge reward for the countless hours of work, the relentless search for performance, the passion we displayed day in, day out, since the start of the season. The sweetest part, of course, was to bring not one but two cars in the points this far high in the results.

This is also a huge motivational boost. With one race left in the season, we head to Abu Dhabi conscious of the value of our work, aware of the steps forward we keep making. We know it will still take a lot of work to get where we want to be: but we know we are on the right way. And we also know that we, too, can spring a little surprise every now and then.

Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG:
“We can be really happy and proud with this result. To bring two cars in the points just outside the podium is the reward for the hard work of everyone in the team. We didn’t let our head drop in the races where we were unlucky and now we can celebrate our best result of the season. There was no defining factor today: everyone did a great job – in the cockpit, in the pitstops, on the pitwall and back at base. We have made a lot of progress in the last few races, but it wasn’t until today that it showed. Now we can look forward to the chance to do another good race in Abu Dhabi and finish the season on a high.”

Kimi Räikkönen (car number 7):
Alfa Romeo Racing C38 (Chassis 06/Ferrari)
Race result: 4th
Fastest lap: 1:13.135
Tyres: New Soft (21 laps) – New Medium (26 laps) – New Soft (24 laps)

“It’s great to finally be able to celebrate our best result of the season as a team. It was a positive day and finally we were able to get the result we worked so hard for. We kept on our own most of the race, but at the end we were in the middle of the action. I am disappointed we couldn’t get past Sainz for what turned out to be the final podium position: we had the speed, got a good run on him twice but couldn’t get past. But you always want something more: in the end, it’s good to get big points with both cars.”

Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):
Alfa Romeo Racing C38 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
Race result: 5th
Fastest lap: 1:13.020
Tyres: New Soft (20 laps) – New Medium (26 laps) – New Soft (25 laps)

“I am really, really happy today, for both myself and the team. What a great race, it was a fantastic way to celebrate my contract for next year with two cars in the points. We had a great start, the best this year – we made up three places and went straight into the top ten, but we still had a lot of work to do. The strategy was great, the restarts were very important, especially the final one when I was under pressure from Daniel [Ricciardo]. The last ten laps were crazy, it was quite intense but we managed to stay ahead. Everyone in the team did a wonderful job and we can be really happy with our work. We are improving race after race and we can now focus on Abu Dhabi and on finishing the season in the right way.”