Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN went close to the points in a chaotic United States Grand Prix, with a top-ten finish only slipping out of reach in the closing stages of the race. Zhou Guanyu, starting from P18 after a power unit penalty, made a good recovery with a brave race and an aggressive strategy; he climbed as high as tenth before a late surge by cars on fresher tyres saw him finish in 13th place. Team-mate, Valtteri Bottas, survived early contact with Sergio Perez and was running into the points when his race came to an end with a spin.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal: "It's been quite a difficult day for the team, and it feels like a big opportunity to score points missed. The race held a lot of promise, as we were starting in a good position with Valtteri and both drivers seemed really at ease with the car. We suffered early on, as the contact between Valtteri and Perez meant we dropped places and got caught into a battle we wouldn't have been in, and when Valtteri retired we knew we’d have a really big job ahead of us to bring home some points. Zhou did really well, starting from 18: he kept out of trouble on a day that caught out many, and the race plan helped him make up ground. In the end, however, that was not enough to bring home the points he would have deserved. It feels like an opportunity that got away from us, but the silver lining of the day is that we're still in sixth place in the championship. We know we'll need to fight tooth and nail in the final races to secure this position, but we can rely on our updated package to hopefully be able to score the points we need for this important objective."
Valtteri Bottas (car number 77):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN C42 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
Race result: DNF
Fastest lap: 1:43.391 (Lap 4)
Tyres: New Medium (10 laps) – New Hard (6 laps – DNF)
"We were looking really strong for points, so it's disappointing to finish my race early. At the start, I was going into Turn Nine on the opening lap and saw Perez diving in at the very end: it was very close, and I had to go wide losing momentum and a couple of places, but luckily we just touched. I passed Albon, settled into a rhythm, but when I was trying to close the gap to Gasly to get into DRS rangeI made a mistake in Turn 19 and lost the rear end. I later found out that, at the same time, there was quite a big gust of wind, so a combination of that and pushing too hard put an end to my race. It was very unfortunate, as our pace was promising, and a points finish could've definitely been possible today. I'm looking forward to turning the tide next week in Mexico and bringing home some points."
Zhou Guanyu (car number 24):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN C42 (Chassis 03/Ferrari)
Race result: 13th
Fastest lap: 1:42.394 (Lap 39)
Tyres: New Medium (9 laps) – New Hard (14 laps) – New Hard (33 laps)
"We knew today was always going to be difficult, starting from the back: we tried to make something happen, but, towards the end, holding off drivers who were mounting newer tyres compared to ours became almost impossible. We tried to stay out hoping for something to happen that would favour us, but eventually it didn't quite work out. Overall, it's been quite a tricky day for the team, but at least we go again next week in Mexico: as a positive, we showed good performances on track. For sure the upgrades we brought here helped a lot, we've been so much stronger especially in one-lap pace, and we saw both cars had the pace to get into Q3."