Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake qualified on the verge of Q3 under the Sakhir lights. Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu set the 12th and 13th fastest times as they claimed their spot on the grid for tomorrow's Bahrain Grand Prix.
In a congested midfield, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers delivered solid laps, extracting the potential of their C43s in this first Saturday shootout of the season. With our car having shown good race pace, the aim for the team will be to make up places in tomorrow's showdown, targeting positions in the coveted Top Ten with both cars.
Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative: "Today's result is a good first step and a platform on which we can build on to score points tomorrow. We can be happy about the way our team executed qualifying today: both drivers did well and the whole crew, here and in Hinwil, stood up to the task. We expected the midfield to be an incredibly tight affair, and tonight's result confirms just how close the battle will be. There are minimal gaps between all the cars around us and a single tenth can make the difference between quite a few positions: even though we missed out on Q3, we are still in the mix for the points. Our focus shifts to Sunday now: we need to prepare our best race plan, making sure we find a way to make the most of the good long-run pace we showed in testing and practice. I am confident we can have a good showing tomorrow and deliver a good result to the team back at home."
Valtteri Bottas (car number 77):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake C43 (Chassis 03/Ferrari)
FP3: 17th / 1:33.629 (14 laps)
Q1: 1:31.504 (6 laps)
Q2: 12th / 1:31.443 (6 laps)
"It was a straightforward qualifying session for us, and starting from P12 we will be definitely aiming for a place in the points. I'm quite happy about the laps I delivered and it's good to see how Zhou was able to push me as well: we were just a bit short of Q3, but the midfield is really close and everything can still happen. From what we have seen in testing, we are not bad in race trim, and it will be interesting to see how tyre degradation will affect different cars: it's quite difficult to predict how the race will shape up, but we're going to give it our best shot."
Zhou Guanyu (car number 24):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN C43 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
FP3: 12th / 1:33.180 (13 laps)
Q1: 1:31.615 (6 laps)
Q2: 13th / 1:31.473 (6 laps)
"Even from outside of the top ten, I feel we have the potential to gain a few positions during tomorrow's race: last year we were able to climb up the field, and I see no reason why we can't repeat what we have done before. It will be a tight fight, once again, and points are definitely the target. Looking at our performance from practice, we are in the mix for the top ten and it will often be a case of who can put everything together on the day: we went really close to it today, but ultimately fell a bit short. Still, there's everything to play for tomorrow and I'm confident we can do a good job."