Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN endured a difficult qualifying session at the Brazilian Grand Prix, with Zhou Guanyu setting the 17th fastest time, ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas in 18th. It was a result, matured in a rain-affected session, that didn't reflect the strong performances shown in practice: but with tomorrow's Sprint providing an additional opportunity to improve, the team will go all in to gain some good starting positions for Sunday's race in Interlagos.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal: "When you have pace in practice, as we did today, going out with two cars in Q1 is definitely not the result you expect. Unfortunately, we didn't make the most of the changing conditions and we ended up paying the price for it. It's disappointing to miss out on this opportunity, but the only consolation is that we have tomorrow's Sprint to try and make up ground. Brazil has historically been a place where overtaking is possible, and if we replicate the pace we had in FP1, we can move up: if we do that, we give ourselves the best possible chance for Sunday's race."
Valtteri Bottas (car number 77):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN C42 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
FP1: 9th / 1:12.466 (31 laps)
Q1: 18th / 1:15.486 (13 laps)
"It's a disappointing result, especially after we looked strong in FP1 earlier today. In the end, we made the call to go with intermediate tyres when pitting and that turned out to be the wrong choice: on my in-lap, I saw a Williams struggling and decided to stay on the inters. We realised softs were the best option and pitted again, but two laps were not enough to bring these tyres into temperature. Still, there's everything to play for: we have two days to get into the points and, given our pace in the dry, we still have a chance to bring home a good result."
Zhou Guanyu (car number 24):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN C42 (Chassis 03/Ferrari)
FP1: 18th / 1:13.115 (30 laps)
Q1: 17th / 1:15.197 (12 laps)
"Everything was going really smoothly, especially considering the conditions were very slippery. Unfortunately, we probably pitted one or two laps too late, and I only had one push lap on the slicks, so it was nearly impossible to give everything on it. It's obviously frustrating to be missing the cut-off by less than two tenths, especially because we could've likely improved had we gotten one more lap, so it's a bit of a tough one. We felt we had the pace in the beginning, I did a really good lap on the softs, so it makes it more frustrating as I feel there was a lot more we could have given today. Nevertheless, we can hopefully gain some ground tomorrow and improve our starting positions ahead of Sunday's race."