Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake had its first taste of the eagerly awaited Las Vegas Strip Circuit, but Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu were made to wait well into the night before they could get meaningful running in their C43s. Damage to the track surface meant that FP1 was cut short after just ten minutes, and FP2 had to be delayed until 2:30am: good things come to those who wait, though, and the two Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers were able to finally get to discover the latest circuit in the calendar, with Valtteri recording the fifth fastest time in the late, late night session – a good indication ahead of tomorrow's qualifying – and Zhou in P18.
Valtteri Bottas (car number 77):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake C43 (Chassis 02/Ferrari)
FP1: 10th / 1:47.147 (5 laps)
FP2: 5th / 1:36.129 (36 laps)
"Finishing in the top five is always nice, but it's still very early days and we can't get too carried away. Everyone will improve massively tomorrow, and we will need to do the same, but as far as today is concerned, we looked good. We have a clear direction to follow with the setup to improve the balance of the car, as it's still a bit understeery in the slow-speed corners, and there is a lot of time to be gained if we fix that. The track is just as we expected: really fast, with long straights and very slippery at the beginning of the session. The grip kept getting better with every lap, and we expect more evolution tomorrow. Now, we need to focus on finding some more performance ahead of qualifying: it will be an even longer night than it has been already, but we're motivated to continue at this level."
Zhou Guanyu (car number 24):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake C43 (Chassis 01/Ferrari)
FP1: 14th / 1:48.822 (5 laps)
FP2: 18th / 1:37.656 (36 laps)
"It was definitely an interesting session, for the time and the track conditions. I don't think the final classification shows our true pace: to explore more options, we chose a different setup from Valtteri, which didn't work as well as his, and I locked up and went straight on my final lap, so we know there's more that we can extract from the car. Discovering the track was a bit challenging: the surface was very slippery, which was not surprising given the new tarmac and yesterday's rain, but it improved a lot as the session progressed and I expect it to continue doing so tomorrow, and lap times to keep tumbling. This track seems to reward confidence under braking, and getting temperature into the tyres will be crucial. We’ll need to figure out the best plan to do so in qualifying, especially keeping in mind the cooler temperatures we could be facing tomorrow."