Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN battled changing conditions and a slippery track en route to a positive result in qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Valtteri Bottas set the eighth fastest time upon his return to Q3; Zhou Guanyu set the fourth time in Q1, before a late downpour prevented him from improving his Q2 lap, finishing in P14.
The Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN drivers will start from these grid positions in tomorrow's Sprint, which in turn will set the grid for Sunday's race.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal: "Our objective before the session was to have at least one car in Q2 and one in Q3, and in this regard, we accomplished it. Both drivers felt at ease in the car despite the tricky conditions and did well in the circumstances: Zhou was impressive in Q1 but the timing of the red flag in Q2 penalised him and he couldn't improve when a spot in the top ten was realistic. Valtteri made it to Q3 and was looking good for a place in the top six, but unfortunately a technical issue we are investigating stopped him: still, P8 is a really good position and, with Zhou in P14, we can aim to claim some points on Saturday and some really good positions for Sunday's grid."
Valtteri Bottas (car number 77):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN C42 (Chassis 01/Ferrari)
FP1: 11th / 1:34.615 (19 laps)
Q1: 1:20.419 (13 laps)
Q2: 1:20.192 (5 laps)
Q3: 8th / 1:30.439 (5 laps)
"It was a really strong session for us until we had to stop the car for a technical issue. We are still investigating what it is, hopefully it is nothing serious and we can fix it quickly. It's a bit of a shame as we had the potential to be higher than eighth, but it's not a disaster on a sprint weekend: we are in a decent place to fight tomorrow and we can aim to make up some more places ahead of the race on Sunday."
Zhou Guanyu (car number 24):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN C42 (Chassis 02/Ferrari)
FP1: 19th / 1:37.450 (22 laps)
Q1: 1:19.730 (13 laps)
Q2: 14th / 1:21.434 (3 laps)
"I am pleased about our work today: to get through Q1 in the top five was already good, especially considering the little practice I could do in these conditions with just one session before qualifying. The chance to get into Q3 was there, but I struggled a bit with the tyre warmup in my first Q2 run and, with the red flag and the rain coming afterwards, never got a chance to do another. Despite these circumstances, I am very happy to be in Q2 again. We are normally stronger in race trim, so I hope we can move up as a team in tomorrow's sprint. If the track is dry, we stand a good chance, although you can never know how the weather will be like here. I am ready for whatever conditions there will be: we did well so far and hopefully we can carry on this momentum into tomorrow."