Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN delivered a solid performance in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix, as Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu set the 12th and 14th times in the session respectively. The grid for tomorrow's race will be mixed up by penalties to several drivers, including a 15-place one to Valtteri for new power unit components, with Zhou expected to start in P9 and Valtteri in P15.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal: "Today's performance was a step forward compared to the last couple of rounds. The circuit seems to suit us better and we can be satisfied with the work we have done since Friday. P12 with Valtteri and P14 with Zhou is a decent result, and we can take heart by knowing we went quite close to a spot in Q3. We head into tomorrow confident we can fight for points: Zhou will be ninth on the grid and Valtteri, despite his penalty, will lose only three places and race a car that has been set up with Sunday in mind. We have seen how chaotic races in Monza can be, so making the most of any chance will be good: if we have a good start and do our job properly, we can fight for the points with both cars."
Valtteri Bottas (car number 77):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN C42 (Chassis 01/Ferrari)
FP3: 16th / 1:22.950 (26 laps)
Q1: 1:22.254 (6 laps)
Q2: 12th / 1:22.235 (6 laps)
"I am pretty happy with today's performance: I think we got everything we could out of this session. Our objective was to be ahead of Magnussen and Schumacher, as they had the same amount of penalties as us and we were fighting for position – and we did it. We knew we had a big penalty today, so we focused completely on setting the car up for the race – and still got very close to a spot in Q3. I feel we have made a good improvement compared to the last couple of rounds and we should be in a position to fight for points, even with the penalty. Our race pace is good, and hopefully we can have some nice battles tomorrow."
Zhou Guanyu (car number 24):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN C42 (Chassis 03/Ferrari)
FP3: 11th / 1:22.657 (14 laps)
Q1: 1:22.003 (6 laps)
Q2: 14th / 1:22.577 (6 laps)
"I think we came away with a good result, even though we were under some pressure as we only had two sets of new tyres. We were strong in Q1, while Q2 has been quite difficult for me: we struggled a bit more to get the balance right, and a flat spot on my tyre did not help. It was unfortunate as I think we were looking good and there was much more to get out from the car. Nevertheless, due to all the penalties to other drivers, we should be starting in the top ten, and it's always nicer to be a little further up on this track. I am looking forward to tomorrow, as hopefully we will have more opportunities throughout the race."