Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN qualified in 12th and 14th place for tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix, as Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu set themselves up for a good opportunity to score points. The team delivered a solid display, missing out on a place in Q3 for a tiny margin – less than 0.1s: with the weather forecast still in the balance for the race, there's everything to play for.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal: "Today was another demonstration of how close the midfield is, as we missed out on a place in the top ten by less than 0.1s with Valtteri. I am also pleased for Zhou – Suzuka is a very complex track, and he did really well as in his first experience on this circuit. Even though we would have wanted to be in Q3, we can be optimistic about tomorrow's race; we are close to the points with both cars, on a track where overtaking is possible and where we have pace. The weather is the big question going into Sunday: we looked strong in the wet yesterday, so a rainy afternoon tomorrow could play to our strengths. In any case, we know we can be in the fight: we'll give all to bring home some points."
Valtteri Bottas (car number 77):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN C42 (Chassis 01/Ferrari)
FP3: 13th / 1:31.971 (24 laps)
Q1: 1:31.226 (6 laps)
Q2: 12th / 1:30.709 (6 laps)
"It feels like we really got everything out of our lap and we didn't leave anything out there: unfortunately, that was not enough for a spot in Q3, and we missed out by less than 0.1s. Both my Q2 laps were pretty good, but it shows how close the midfield is that a mere few hundredths of a second can make such a big difference: it's disappointing, but we're not far off and we know we will be battling for the points. Tomorrow is when it really matters and the forecast is still not clear yet. We looked good in the rain yesterday, so I wouldn't mind some wet weather we can use to climb a few places."
Zhou Guanyu (car number 24):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN C42 (Chassis 03/Ferrari)
FP3: 18th / 1:32.385 (24 laps)
Q1: 1:30.894 (6 laps)
Q2: 14th / 1:30.953 (6 laps)
"I am quite happy with what I could do today, especially considering I only had one session to get used to this track in dry conditions, being my first time on this very technical circuit. We made good progress throughout the day and things were looking quite promising, but Q2 was really tight in the midfield. We were so close to Q3, but in the end it was a bit too far from us: still, we gave everything we could. We are still in a position to target the points tomorrow – and, if it rains, all bets are off. We looked strong in the wet on Friday: if there's a bit of rain tomorrow, we could have an even better chance, and it could be a really entertaining race for everyone."