Alfa Romeo report from Friday at the Brazilian Grand Prix, round 20 of the 2019 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.
Interlagos is a tricky place. A challenging track at the best of times, it can be fiendishly difficult once the heavens open: an invite for drivers to show the best they can do, but one littered with traps and pitfalls. We saw a demonstration of this today, as cars (and their occupants) slid off the slippery surface at every corner; as kerbs turned into banana peels and grassy run-offs into slip ‘n slides. A wet Interlagos is as hard a track as they come.
And yet, we finish this day with a positive outlook. Not only Kimi and Antonio kept out of trouble in these challenging conditions, they did so while showing good pace. Practice, of course, is practice, and both were quick to point out it doesn’t really matter whether you’re first or last on a Friday (even though we would much rather choose the former). But as opening days go, this was a good one: a solid starting point for the rest of the weekend.
Qualifying tomorrow will be a battle. It takes around 70 seconds to complete a lap, one of the shortest in the calendar. Every mistake, every inaccuracy cost places. We’ll need to be spotless to claim the grid positions we know we can reach. But we approach our Saturday full of confidence, ready for the battle ahead.
Kimi Räikkönen (car number 7):
Alfa Romeo Racing C38 (Chassis 06/Ferrari)
1st practice: 14th / 1:19.532 (12 laps) / 2nd practice: 8th / 1:10.210 (39 laps)
“It was a positive start to our weekend, despite the challenging conditions. It’s good to finish the day in the top ten, even though it is just practice: for sure there is still work to be done on the setup, but we will try to keep improving and see where we end up tomorrow. Qualifying is going to be tight, as always here. The lap is so short that even one tenth can make a difference of many positions: you need to get your lap completely right to be towards the front. We’ll need to see what conditions we will have tomorrow, but we can be confident we will be in the fight.”
Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):
Alfa Romeo Racing C38 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
1st practice: 15th / 1.19.600 (18 laps) / 2nd practice: 13th / 1:10.419 (36 laps)
“I think we can be satisfied about our work today. We had a busy programme and managed to do some laps in the wet as well – it was a good experience. This afternoon the times were really close, and I think it’s going to be a taste of what we can expect in qualifying. We will need to keep our focus and get it all together, extracting 100% from every corner tomorrow. Our target is, as always, a place in Q3 and I am confident it is within our reach.”