Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN was a strong performer in qualifying for the United States Grand Prix, and only saw its first double-Q3 of the season vanish due to a marginal infringement of track limits regulations by Zhou Guanyu. Valtteri Bottas qualified tenth, but is expected to make up three more places on tomorrow’s grid due to penalties to other drivers, to start seventh; Zhou eventually ended up 14th, but will suffer a further five-place penalty for additional power unit components.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
“We can be pleased about the performance we displayed with both cars today. Valtteri has been in good form all weekend and to see him in the top ten was no surprise. It should have been two cars in Q3 for the first time this season, but sadly Zhou saw his best lap cancelled for a track limits infringement and ended up 14th. It’s a shame, it was a really close call but it is what it is. Zhou’s performance was even more remarkable as he missed out on most of FP3, and it’s a pity he will also have a five-place grid penalty for power unit components, as he definitely had the pace to fight up there in the top ten alongside Valtteri. Now we have to focus on finishing this weekend well: we have a car starting in the points, we have pace and there is nothing to stop up delivering a good performance. We need to finish the job we started and execute our Sunday well.”
“Getting into the top ten was today’s target, and we hit it. We knew the upgrades we have brought for this weekend would give us a boost and it took just a small improvement in performance to bring us back into Q3. Starting in the top ten – I believe it could be in seventh place, once all penalties are applied – is really good and it will help with our objective for tomorrow, which is scoring points. We need to score to help us in the battle for sixth in the championship, which is all-important for us. We are making progress, now we have to focus on our own race, do things properly and get some points home.”
“I had to give everything during the whole qualifying session, especially having missed out on FP3 because of technical issues, and I was happy to get into Q2. I think we had a good chance today, we had amazing pace, and I am gutted about having the lap that would have got me into Q3 deleted. It hurts because, looking at the replay, it feels I was out by just one or two millimetres. It’s one lesson to learn, but there are still quite a few positives from this session as we managed to get through to Q3 with Valtteri, and we showed strong performances with these new upgrades. I am looking forward to tomorrow, even though we will start from the back: I think it’s possible to overtake here, so hopefully we can have a good race and bring both cars into the points.”