After the highs of Qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix two weeks ago where both cars made it through to the top ten shootout, it was pretty much back to normal for the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN team at the Bahrain International Circuit, with both Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Räikkönen finding themselves eliminated in Q1.
Giovinazzi was closest to making it through, ending less than half a tenth away from advancing, but the Italian was left frustrated to be just on the wrong side of the cut-off point when the chequered flag fell.
However, he still believes he can secure the team a good result on Sunday, and he knows tyre management is going to be extremely important around a track notoriously hard on the tyres.
“My fastest lap was really good and we were so close to making it to Q2, only missing out for less than half a tenth,” said Giovinazzi. “It’s obviously frustrating but all we can do is focus on tomorrow.
“I was quite happy with the car, but we know it will be a challenging race, especially with tyre degradation being quite high around here. Managing them and getting the strategy right will be crucial: let’s see what we can do from here and if we can bring home a good result.”
Team-mate Räikkönen felt the team had made progress with the C39-Ferrari in between final practice and Qualifying, but it was not enough for the Finn to escape the first segment of the session.
Like Giovinazzi, Räikkönen feels happier in race conditions, and he believes they can make up ground and potentially fight for the minor points come Sunday evening in Bahrain.
“I feel we made a step forward with the car compared to the previous session of the weekend,” said the Finn. “The car felt better than before but it was still a tricky session and to go out in Q1 was of course not ideal.
“It is what it is, let’s see what we can do tomorrow. We have been better in the races so far so hopefully we can make up some ground.”
“It will be a long race on a track that can deliver unpredictable events” – Frédéric Vasseur
Frédéric Vasseur, the Team Principal of Alfa Romeo, says the team did well to improve the car between Friday’s running and Saturday evening in Bahrain, but it was not enough for either of his drivers to escape Q1.
Vasseur says it will now be up to the team to make the best of the situation come race day as they aim to add to the eight points they have scored in the opening fourteen races of 2020.
“The team did a good job to improve the car overnight but unfortunately we were still a tiny bit away from making our way into Q2,” said Vasseur. “Antonio missed out by less than three hundredths, which is a very small margin, but that’s how it goes sometimes and we have to make the best of this situation tomorrow.
“It will be a long race on a track that can deliver unpredictable events, so we will have to get the most out of the circumstances to put one car or two in the points at the end of the day.”