#SuzGP: When the storm clears
2019 FIA Formula One Japanese Grand Prix – Race – Sunday
Weather: Qualifying: sunny and windy, 22.7-21.5°C air, 38.6-34.0°C track; Race: sunny and windy, 22.0-21.2°C air, 35.5-27.9°C track
As we woke up in Japan this morning, a quick glance outside the window was all it took to know we’d have a busy day ahead of us. Gone were the dark clouds, bucketfuls of rain and gale winds, to be replaced by clear skies and a warm, if very breezy day. With Typhoon Hagibis out of the way, action returned to Suzuka – in the form of a Super Sunday featuring qualifying in the morning and the Japanese Grand Prix in the afternoon.
The paddock sprung back to life as if we had never taken a day off, bustling with activity from end to end. Qualifying was a mixed bag for us – Antonio claiming the 11th place on the grid, one row ahead of Kimi in P13. A good battle for points was on the cards, the mood quietly confident.
Unfortunately, the dark clouds that had vacated the Suzuka skies didn’t similarly spare our team. Kimi and Antonio battled hard, fought for each inch of track but eventually ended up outside of the points, and we leave the weekend empty-handed. It was a disappointing end to our Japanese Grand Prix, but one from which we can draw some positives, such as the good pace shown in the closing stages of the race.
As we head into the final four races of the season, however, we keep fighting. We’ll regroup and get ready to battle once more in Mexico. After every storm, after all, there is bound to be a rainbow…
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG:
“We got into the race hoping to be in the top ten but in the end we weren’t able to fight for the points after the opening laps. We showed a much better pace in the closing stages, on the soft tyres, so we will have to review what happened and analyse the data to ensure we can deliver the same level of performance throughout the race. In such a tight field, we need to extract the best from our car at all times or the competition will have the upper hand, which is what happened today.”
Kimi Räikkönen (car number 7):
Alfa Romeo Racing C38 (Chassis 06/Ferrari)
Race result: 14th
Fastest lap: 1:33.190
Tyres: New med 15 laps – new hard 21 laps – new soft 15 laps
“It’s a disappointing end to our weekend. We always do all we can to bring home a good result and in the end the car was pretty good on the last set of tyres. We were running three, four seconds faster than earlier in the race, but unfortunately by then we had lost a lot of time and our afternoon was compromised. We couldn’t find a good balance in the first two stints on medium and hard tyres, they just wouldn’t work and I had no front end. We have to look at the data to understand what happened and figure out what to fix, so that we can consistently have the performance we had in the final part of the race.”
Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):
Alfa Romeo Racing C38 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
Race result: 16th
Fastest lap: 1:32.369
Tyres: New med 18 laps – new hard 31 laps – new soft 2 laps
“It was a difficult weekend for us. The conditions weren’t ideal with the wind, but in the end it’s the same for everyone so we need to focus on our work. Our pace turned out to be better in qualifying than in the race in comparison with our rivals and we have to understand why. The potential of the car is there but we have to keep working to improve ahead of the final races and do the best possible job in the rest of the season.”