Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Challenges at dusk
2019 FIA Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Qualifying – Saturday
Weather: FP3: sunny 26.4-28.0°C air, 40.0-37.9°C track; Q: clear dusk, 26.5-25.3°C air, 32.0-28.2°C track
The final qualifying of the season came and went – alas, too quickly for the Alfa Romeo Racing team. It was a result that left the team with a bitter taste in their mouths as both cars bowed out of the Saturday proceedings after just 18 minutes, at the end of Q1; but it was also one that set up a challenge for tomorrow, one they will no doubt approach with the right spirits.
As in many other occasions this season, the team has faced long odds as they head towards the race. But just as they defied the nay-sayers before, giving everything they had to make up ground on Sunday, the team will head to the grid tomorrow determined to show what they can do over a race distance.
It won’t be easy: but the Alfa Romeo Racing team relish the challenge. Strategy, racecraft, perfect execution of the plan – they will all play a part when the lights go out tomorrow. It’s one last roll of the dice for the 2019 season, and they are ready to play.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG:
“After such a positive weekend in Brazil, to lose two cars in Q1 falls definitely short of our expectations. We struggled to bring the tyres to the right temperature window today and that affected the grip we had on track. We have a busy night ahead trying to understand the causes for this and to turn our fortunes around in the race. We are confident in our race pace, but starting towards the back means we will have a fight ahead of us to get back into the points tomorrow.”
Kimi Räikkönen #7:
Alfa Romeo Racing C38 (Chassis 06/Ferrari)
3rd practice: 16th / 1:38.514 (21 laps) / Q: 18th / 1:38.383 (6 laps)
“It’s a disappointing result as we were hoping to get something more out of qualifying. The car hasn’t lost much speed compared to last time out in Brazil, but we couldn’t find the grip we needed over a single lap. Hopefully this should be easier over a race distance, so we can hope to make progress in the race. Overtaking is not easy here, especially from where we start, but we are going to give it a good try.”
Antonio Giovinazzi #99:
Alfa Romeo Racing C38 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
3rd practice: 18th / 1:38.782 (18 laps) / Q: 17th / 1:38.114 (6 laps)
“The car felt pretty good but we lacked something today. It’s a pity as our race pace didn’t look bad, so a good starting position would have helped. Instead, tomorrow will be a bit of a challenge: we need a good start and to make the right strategy calls if we want to make up some places and get back in the fight.”