Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN delivered a strong performance in front of a friendly crowd as Antonio Giovinazzi set up a top-ten start for tomorrow’s Sprint in the Italian Grand Prix. Teammate Robert Kubica, still deputising for Kimi Räikkönen, was 19th as the team continued working for its home race.
On a weekend that sees the return of the Sprint Qualifying format, Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN started its on-track activities with the right foot. Sporting a special livery to honour Alfa Romeo on its home turf, on a weekend with many other activities planned in the marque’s historic Arese headquarters to celebrate the occasion, the team delivered a good performance to give itself the best chance for tomorrow’s 100km-sprint.
10th place is a result that vindicates Antonio’s good performance throughout qualifying: he absorbed the passion of the home fans, of the Italian flags waving in the stands, of the magic of Monza, and delivered lap after lap to clear Q1, Q2 and claim his spot on tomorrow’s grid.
Robert, with just one busy hour of practice under his belt due to the race weekend format, saw his best effort thwarted by a block: he will start 19th, but with the confidence that the good display of last week gave him. He will be looking at making up ground in Saturday’s race for a better place on Sunday’s grid.
It’s still a long weekend for the team: in what is meant to be a celebration of Alfa Romeo and Italian motorsport, we have given ourselves a very good start.
“I am very happy to have achieved Q3 in front of the Tifosi, it’s unbelievable. We looked solid from the start, even in Q1 and Q2 we did good laps for sixth and seventh and we knew we could get a good result. We only had one fresh set of tyres for Q3, so we couldn’t make much progress there, but we’ll take P10. Even if this position is only for the grid of the Sprint Qualifying, it’s a good result and it allows us to start from a great position. We will need a good start tomorrow, on a race with no stops and no strategy, but we know we want to set us up well for Sunday. There will be some very aggressive drivers out there and we’ll need to make our opportunities count.”
“It wasn’t the smoothest of days but tomorrow we can try and make up some ground. Practice wasn’t bad, but when you have only one hour to try three compounds and do long and shorter runs, it’s not easy to get a reference. I am a bit disappointed about the qualifying result as I believe we could have been a bit higher up the grid. Finding space on track wasn’t the easiest, and when I did, my first run was ruined by Mazepin, who was just in the middle of the track. At first I thought he had a technical issue, but then he sped away. It’s a bit of a shame, as in a short session you have to make every lap count, but that’s how it is.”
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
“We had a good Friday here in Monza, which is especially good for the supporters in the grandstands for our home race. The team looked solid from the beginning of the weekend, which was ideal with only one session to find a good balance for the car. Every lap counts and we could begin qualifying with confidence. Antonio looked strong straight from Q1 – he was P6 in Q1 and P7 in Q2 and looked at ease. Unfortunately, Robert didn’t have as smooth a session: his first run was ruined when he got blocked during his first lap, and he could only be 19th. Still, he can improve tomorrow as he looked good in practice. In Q3, Antonio only had one set of tyres left and was able to replicate his Q2 lap to go 10th. Being in Q3 for the second race in a row is a very encouraging result and gives us a good position ahead of tomorrow’s Sprint.”