Up and down day in the Austrian hills
2021 FIA Formula One Styrian Grand Prix – Qualifying – Saturday
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN notched another Q2 appearance in qualifying for the Styrian Grand Prix, courtesy of Antonio Giovinazzi’s 15th position. Team-mate, Kimi Räikkönen, set the 18th time for tomorrow’s race.
On a hot track in the Austrian mountains, with circuit surface temperatures north of 50C, the drivers took part in a sizzling qualifying session. The Spielberg track is one of the shortest in the calendar and, with a lap amounting to little more than a minute, finding the right space in traffic and placing the tyres in the right operating window proved crucial. With gaps expected to be minimal, Antonio stitched together a good lap to clear the first segment of qualifying. Kimi was one of the earlier casualties in a tough session for the Finn, and will start the race in P18, in front of the two Haas cars.
In Q2, Antonio tried running on both medium and soft tyres. After setting excellent results in all three practice sessions, the Italian eventually finished 15th, just a small 0.11s off P12. Recent races on the Spielberg circuit have been hectic affairs, however, and there is no reason to believe tomorrow can’t be the same. If the race is throwing up opportunities, we’ll need to be ready to make the most of them.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN: “After the really strong results in the three practice sessions, this afternoon’s result leaves us with a bit of a mixed feeling. On the one hand, we continue our streak of Q2 appearances, and we know how close we were to the cars in front: Antonio was a little more than a tenth away from P12 and that would have looked a lot better than P15, but so are things around such a track. Kimi will have his work cut out tomorrow, but we’ve seen how quickly fortunes can change around here so there’s still all to fight for. We will need to be sharp tomorrow, and if the race is not dry anything can truly happen.”
Kimi Räikkönen (car number 7):
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C41 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
FP3: 15th / 1:05.942 (25 laps)
Q1: 18th / 1:05.429 (8 laps)
“I didn’t manage to make one good lap and this is the end result. It’s not what we want, of course, but that’s how it is. It’s not going to be easy to start where we are but we’ll see tomorrow what we can make of it.”
Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C41 (Chassis 05/Ferrari)
FP3: 11th / 1:05.556 (24 laps)
Q1: 1:05.092 (9 laps)
Q2: 15th / 1:04.913 (8 laps)
“We were quite confident coming into today so P15 is not really what we expected. We had a really strong Friday but today the other teams seem to have found a little bit more than us. I put together a good lap but unfortunately that was not enough to get into Q3. I’m still optimistic for tomorrow, though: our race pace didn’t look bad yesterday and this is a track where you can overtake. We need to focus on the race, see what weather we’re going to get. We know we can get close to the top ten and fight for points.”