October 24th, 2020

Saturday doesn’t live up to its promise

2020 FIA Formula One Portuguese Grand Prix – Qualifying – Saturday
Weather: FP3: sunny 18.6-19.9°C air, 24.0-30.4°C track; Q: sunny, 20.9-21.2°C air, 35.3-35.3°C track

The Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN cars of Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi will line up on the eighth and ninth rows of the grid respectively in tomorrow’s Portuguese Grand Prix. The promise of the morning session, in which the drivers felt at ease with their C39s, blew away in the gusts of wind battering the Portuguese coast in the afternoon.

In the end, Kimi and Antonio fell short of Q2, bumped out in the dying moments of the first segment of qualifying. It’s a result that falls short of the team’s own expectations, of course, but the feeling is that more can be done tomorrow. The weather, with the threat of rain hanging over the Algarve, could play a part: so could the tricky track conditions, the asphalt still slippery despite the four sessions already run on the circuit this weekend.

We’ve had a fair share of rollercoaster races this season, not least on “new” tracks: were one to happen here in Portugal, we’ll need grit, good strategic calls and a little sprinkling of luck to get a good result out of it. It has happened before: we’ll be ready if it does again.

Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG:
“Finding the perfect balance in these blustery conditions was never going to be easy: a good feeling in the morning can easily turn sour when the wind changes later in the day and that is what seems to have happened today. Not making it out of Q1 is a disappointment but we can harbour some hope for tomorrow: both drivers were happy with the car in the windless morning, so we can aim to make up a few places tomorrow and be in the battle for the positions that matter in the race.”

Kimi Räikkönen (car number 7):
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C39 (Chassis 05/Ferrari)
3rd practice: 13th / 1:17.922 (20 laps) / Q1: 16th / 1:18.201 (12 laps)

“The car felt really good this morning after the changes we did overnight, but when the wind picked up we started to struggle. Overall, the car behaved nicely but the moment we got a tail wind it was a really painful experience. We tried to get through, we did what we could but it wasn’t enough today. In different conditions it would have been a completely different story, but in the end it’s the same for everyone. Obviously I am disappointed, but we have tomorrow to try and make up some ground.”

Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):

Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C39 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
3rd practice: 17th / 1:18.201 (20 laps) / Q1: 17th / 1:18.323 (12 laps)

“Grip conditions were a bit better today but they were still quite a challenge. I think we did the most we could once again, but it was not enough to book a place in Q2. To start towards the back is never easy, but we can still do our race tomorrow and see what happens. We need a good start and to make the most of any opportunities, especially if the weather plays a role. The grip levels are still fairly low and everything can happen.”