Singapore GP: The lights are back on
2019 FIA Formula One Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix – Qualifying – Saturday
Weather: FP3: overcast and humid, 31.5-30.8°C air, 39.9-37.1°C track; Q: overcast and humid, 30.1-29.8°C air, 35.2-33.7°C track
It can get pretty dark at night in Singapore. Forget the 1,500 light bulbs bringing day-like brightness to the Marina Bay circuit – when things do not go your way, the shadows are quick to engulf you.
Alfa Romeo Racing;s Friday was a pretty bleak affair – especially when the lights truly went out at one point. Missing out on a chunk of track time in FP1 due to an electrical issue in the garage and more than one second adrift of their direct rivals, the mood wasn’t the best in the team’s camp as Friday came to a close. And then the lights went back on.
It is testament to the hard work of the Alfa Romeo Racing’s crew and engineers, both trackside and back in Hinwil, that they bounced back dramatically on Saturday. Antonio closed Q2 just a little more than 0.1s away from P10 and a ticket to Q3. He will start the race in P11, with a free choice of tyres and a good shot at another points finish. Kimi will line up only one row behind him, ready to put up a fight. The Singapore Grand Prix, one of the most gruelling events on the calendar, is going to be a long race. Safety Cars are just one mistake away, strategy a crucial variable. Opportunities abound.
Even when their weekend looked compromised, they kept pushing – and now they’re in the battle to bring home some points. The lights are back on, and now the team will have to make the most of the brightness.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG:
“Yes, this is not an easy weekend for us, but still I would like to stick to the positives. After FP3 we were nearly a second behind the Renaults, in Qualifying Antonio missed Q3 by only 0.1 seconds against them. So our recovery today was great and given Perez’s grid penalty we’ll start from P11 and P13 which means there are definitely a few points up for grabs.”
Kimi Räikkönen #7:
Alfa Romeo Racing C38 (Chassis 06/Ferrari)
3rd practice: 13th / 1:40.953 (16 laps) / Q: 13th / 1:38.858 (14 laps)
“This hasn’t been an easy weekend for us so far. The car is improving step by step but still we’re not fast enough. I don’t know if it is about the tyres, sometimes we seem to have grip but then it goes away and that makes it hard to feel confident and push properly. The long runs yesterday have shown more consistency so hopefully the race will be a bit easier for us.”
Antonio Giovinazzi #99:
Alfa Romeo Racing C38 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
3rd practice: 16th / 1:41.169 (14 laps) / Q: 11th / 1:38.697 (14 laps)
“It hasn’t been the smoothest weekend so far, so to qualify so close to the top ten is a decent result. I think I could have improved a little in my fastest lap, but looking at the pace of the Renaults and McLarens, it would have been very difficult to beat them. Starting in P11 tomorrow, because of Perez’s penalty, means we are the first of the cars with a free choice of tyres and that can be an advantage. We saw the softs degrade a lot yesterday, so we can pick another compound and make a good strategy out of it. It’s going to be a long race tomorrow, but if we take any chance we get, we can finish this weekend positively with some points.”