2021 FIA Formula One Portuguese Grand Prix – Qualifying
The third qualifying battle of the season saw Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN deliver a good turn of pace, with Antonio Giovinazzi going close to a place in Q3, finally settling into P12. Team-mate Kimi Räikkönen also made it to Q2, making it two cars from our team in the middle segment of qualifying, and recorded the 15th time in the standings.
After a tricky Friday, in which the drivers reported a challenging feeling with the car on low fuel, the team delivered the improvement that was required for the qualifying session. With an injection of performance into the C41, both drivers battled for a place in the top ten, eventually giving a strong account for the team.
The result puts us in a strong position for tomorrow’s race, especially in account of the good long-run pace displayed yesterday. It will be a long, hard battle on the up-and-downs of the Algarve, but we’re confident we’re going to be in this fight from the first to the very last lap.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG: “Putting both cars in Q2 was the minimum objective for today, and we achieved it: to fight for a place in Q3 with Antonio shows how much of an improvement we made overnight, so big credit to the team for turning our single-lap performance around after a difficult Friday. Antonio felt really good and delivered two strong laps in Q2 to finish only a little more than a tenth away from the top ten; Kimi was on course to have a similarly good time on both his runs, but unfortunately couldn’t get the lap together. Still, to have two cars in a battle for a place in Q3 is a positive step. We start tomorrow with free choice of tyres and aiming to be in the battle for the points from lights to flag: our race pace looked promising yesterday and we need to translate it into a good result.”
Kimi Räikkönen (car number 7):
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C41 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
FP3: 10th / 1:19.415 (26 laps)
Q1: 1:19.748 (10 laps)
Q2: 15th / 1:19.812 (9 laps)
“We could have got a better result today as we had made a step forward compared to yesterday, but unfortunately we couldn’t put a lap together in the final run. I missed one corner in both my laps on the last set of tyres in Q2 and P15 is what you can expect when this happens. We’ll try again tomorrow: we know it’s not going to be easy, but we will give our best and see where we end up at the end of the day.”
Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C41 (Chassis 03/Ferrari)
FP3: 13th / 1:19.588 (23 laps)
Q1: 1:19.410 (9 laps)
Q2: 12th / 1:19.216 (10 laps)
“I am happy with P12, especially because it shows how much we’re progressing: we were very close to a place in Q3, but at least we can choose our optimal strategy tomorrow. The car felt much better today than yesterday, even though the conditions were still very tricky. We seem to have regained the pace we showed in Bahrain after some bad luck in qualifying in Imola, but now we have to make it matter on Sunday. We need the right strategy, a good start and a good race: our pace looked good yesterday, so we can have some fun. I am looking forward to it.”