Alfa Romeo: These are not the starting positions we were expecting

Alfa Romeo report from qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix, round 18 of the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Fighters fight until the end.

Qualifying in P14 and P15 is definitely not the kind of result we wished for, and not even what we were expecting after showing promising pace in the earlier sessions in the weekend. But even though we fell short of our aim today, we are not out of this fight yet.

The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is a funny old place. It’s deceptively straightforward on first observation, but it can bite. It chews through your tyres, it spits you into walls at the first mistake, it can lead you astray with wind, bumps, the lack of drag of Mexico City’s thin air. But it also offers opportunities.

Strategy will be key. Last years, teams jockeyed to be just outside the top ten – and thus be able to choose their starting tyres. The compounds may not be the same as last year, but strategy is still bound to play a key role in this race. We will analyse the data, crunch the numbers, do all it takes to come up with the best plan.

And we will fight. We’ve seen battles here before: side by side into corners, choosing alternative lines, finding space where no one thought there would be any. From the starting lights to the chequered flag, we will go for it. Because we’re fighters – and fighters fight until the end.

Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG:
“After our promising start of the weekend, it’s disappointing to qualify in P14 and P15. These are not the starting positions we were expecting, but we must not forget that this race has seen plenty of drivers making their way through the field thanks to the strategy. Our focus is fully on anticipating tomorrow’s conditions, especially when it comes to the tyres, and finding a plan that allows us to climb some places.”

Kimi Räikkönen (car number 7):
Alfa Romeo Racing C38 (Chassis 06/Ferrari)
3rd practice: 12th / 1:17.740 (19 laps) / Q: 14th / 1:16.967 (14 laps)

“P14 is not what we wanted but that’s how it is. The margin to finishing in a higher position wasn’t big: it’s disappointing as the car has been pretty ok all weekend and we looked more competitive in the earlier sessions. We’ll have to see how it goes tomorrow: we have the chance to start with a different tyre to some of the cars in front of us, so hopefully we can make it work in our favour.”

Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):
Alfa Romeo Racing C38 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
3rd practice: 14th / 1:17.881 (8 laps) / Q: 15th / 1:17.269 (14 laps)

“It was a difficult qualifying for us. I did a mistake in the final sector and that cost me a few tenths, but I don’t think it would have changed much in the end. Tomorrow will not be an easy race, but we have to look at the opportunities we can get. Degradation will be high, especially for those starting on softs, so choosing our own starting compound is the one positive of our qualifying position. Finding the right strategy and managing the tyres will be important if we are to make up some ground.”