Antonio Giovinazzi felt it was a good start to the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend for Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN, with their positive testing pace at the Bahrain International Circuit two weeks ago translating into a strong day for the team.
The Italian, about to embark on his third season with Alfa Romeo, was able to break into the top ten in the first session, and although he was only thirteenth in the evening, he was happy with the pace the C41-Ferrari showed both in short and long runs.
Giovinazzi knows that with the field tightly packed, it will be important in Qualifying on Saturday to maximise their potential if they want to escape Q1.
“It was a good start to build on the positive feeling we had after testing,” said Giovinazzi. “Today’s conditions were quite different, it was way hotter in the day, but we are still happy with our pace in both the short and long runs.
“The field looks really tight, so we will need to put everything together to gain places in qualifying. The shorter practice sessions didn’t really affect us much: in the end, we spent a lot of time in the garage in FP1 in the old system anyway so now there is a bit more action on track.
“We now need to go and find another bit of time with the engineers and get ready for qualifying: the target is to get into Q2 and then see what we are able to fight for.”
“Losing some time because of the incident was not ideal” – Kimi Räikkönen
Team-mate Kimi Räikkönen missed out on some track time in the afternoon after losing control of his car on the exit of turn two and hitting the barriers. He was lucky that the damage was small enough for him to be able to return to the pits.
The Finn ended eleventh fastest in the morning session but only sixteenth in the evening session after being restricted to only fifteen laps. However, despite the incident, he feels Alfa Romeo are in a good place heading into the rest of the weekend.
“A regular first day in which we were able to try various things,” said Räikkönen. “Even though the conditions were quite different from what we experienced in testing, the feel of the car was similar, which allowed us to take up where we left off two weeks ago.
“We had a solid start and were able to work on the set-up. Of course, losing some time because of the incident was not ideal, but we have already so much data from testing that it wasn’t a big setback.
“We’re looking forward to seeing where we stand tomorrow: we still have to refine a few things tonight, but we should be ok.”