In their first Italian Grand Prix Qualifying, Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda will be feeling as if they haven’t capitalised on all they potentially could have, as their cars will start tenth and eleventh after a much more promising Friday.
Claudio Balestri – the Chief of Vehicle Performance – believes that alhough AlphaTauri’s Qualifying wasn’t optimal, both cars had the pace to break into the higher grid positions, and that the team was caught out by the quintessentially chaotic Monza traffic.
He does, however, remain hopeful that the team’s promising race pace simulations will prove representative and foreshadow a strong race for the new outfit in their inaugural season of Formula 1.
“After a very good Friday, this morning in FP3 we focused mainly on Quali preparation, as it’s especially important in Monza. We used two sets of Options and we showed quite a good performance, despite finishing the session only P12 and P13 on the timesheet.”
“We went into Qualifying aiming to make it to Q3 with both cars. We know that in Monza it is extremely important to get a good slipstream and we tried to benefit in the best possible way. In the end, we finished in P10 and P11, which is a shame because we believe that today, on this track, we had enough performance to enter with both cars in the top ten. Now we move our attention to race preparation, trying to optimize our strategy and score some more points.”
Pierre Gasly ‘happy to make it to Q3 again’
One of the stars of Qualifying this year, Pierre Gasly was looking to continue his run of immense Saturday performances this weekend. However, the Frenchman is not 100% pleased with how it all played out, and believes there were more places to be gained than in actuality.
Still, his unrelenting persona and driving style will aid him tomorrow, and starting tenth he has palpable chances to score points in the race.
“FP3 was a tricky session this morning, so we had to find a bit more pace for Quali. We looked pretty strong in both Q1 and Q2, and in the end my lap put me into P6. However, my first run on new tyres in Q3 wasn’t great, I struggled a lot with oversteer and I was sliding a lot.“
“On my second run, my lap on used tyres was good, but just not good enough to be ahead of the other guys on new tyres. It’s only P10 today, but it’s very close and I still think we have a strong package to have a good race tomorrow.”
Daniil Kvyat: “Everything’s there to play for”
Russian rocket Daniil Kvyat was frustrated not to make it into the pole shootout, yet he is well aware the plethora of points-scoring opportunities for tomorrow’s race still remain.
The ‘torpedo’ believes he was ever so slightly hindered on one of his laps, as Kevin Magnussen left the track ahead of him and forced him to lift off the throttle.
“Today Quali became a game of slipstream, so you either got it right or you got it wrong. I was a bit unfortunate with Kevin as he just went off track in front of me, which caused me to lift a bit and I lost the slipstream.“
“Still, starting from P11 gives us a good chance to fight for points and that’s what we’ll do. Everything’s there to play for.”