SochiGP: A rollercoaster kind of day
2019 FIA Formula One VTB Russian Grand Prix – Qualifying – Saturday
Weather: FP3: sunny, some clouds 21.4-21.9°C air, 25.9-26.8°C track; Q: sunny, some clouds, 22.1°C air, 31.3-30.3°C track
Formula One can be a fickle sport. Sometimes things go well, sometimes less so: often, however, what truly impresses is the speed in which things can change. Today was one of those days – one in which the Alfa Romeo Racing team showed grit and resilience but in which ultimately they were left to rue a disappointing result.
It had been a difficult weekend until this afternoon: dialling up the C38 around the Sochi circuit hasn’t proven easy, as the three practice sessions showed. That’s when grit and resilience come into play: the team’sengineers crunched data, analysed every strand of information and came up with some changes to the car – changes that resulted in a better feel for the drivers as they embarked into qualifying.
Unfortunately, effort is just one part of the equation, and today the Alfa Romeo Racing team didn’t have luck on its side. A small mistake on an otherwise quick lap saw Kimi bow out in Q1. Antonio kept the flame going for the team, but for the second week running he was left out of Q3 by a small margin – less than 0.15s this time. He’ll still have a decent chance at fighting for points come tomorrow.
Ups and downs, this Saturday afternoon. With the impressive rides of the Sochi Park just beside the track, teams could have expected this rollercoaster kind of day.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG:
”It’s always a shame when you lose a car in Q1. It was a small mistake by Kimi, but that was enough to miss the cut, which shows how close the spread is in the midfield. In the end, we have to take the positives from the session: we were just 0.2s off P7 at the end of Q2, so we can expect a good battle in tomorrow’s race. Our long run pace looked ok in practice: if we keep our noses clean in the opening laps, we can be in the fight for points.“
Kimi Räikkönen #7:
Alfa Romeo Racing C38 (Chassis 06/Ferrari)
3rd practice: 17th / 1:35.714 (19 laps) / Q: 16th / 1:34.840 (8 laps)
“It’s been a difficult weekend so far but I felt a lot better in qualifying. We made some big changes for this afternoon and improved the car quite a bit. I was improving my time, but unfortunately I made a small mistake, went wide in turn ten and lost all the speed on the back straight. That was it – I would have easily been in Q2 without that.”
Antonio Giovinazzi #99:
Alfa Romeo Racing C38 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
3rd practice: 14th / 1:34.766 (15 laps) / Q: 13th / 1:34.037 (14 laps)
“I tried my best today but in the end we fell just a bit short of the top ten. Starting from P12 tomorrow [because of Gasly’s penalty] with the possibility to choose the tyres can be a small advantage. It’s hard to tell where we stand when it comes to race pace, but I hope we can be competitive tomorrow. Of course we wanted more coming into the session, but if we have a good start and a good strategy we can be in the fight for points. Nobody can predict what weather we’ll have tomorrow and if it starts to rain anything can happen. Having both cars in the top ten is the objective but the key is to continue improving.”