The Alfa Romeo F1 Team went within sight of the points in the Qatar Grand Prix Sprint, with Valtteri Bottas claiming 10th place, ahead of team-mate, Zhou Guanyu, in 14th. Both cars had good pace and fought their way through the field as incidents and Safety Cars provided an entertaining show at the Lusail Circuit.

Tonight’s action provided plenty of information ahead of tomorrow’s race, when Valtteri will be starting within the top ten (P9) and Zhou will attempt a comeback from the back of the grid (P20).

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative: “Points were a reasonable target tonight, and we had a realistic chance to bring home at least one. Unfortunately, losing a position to Albon right after the final Safety Car restart meant Valtteri was never in a position to attack Gasly and Alonso, who were ahead of him on soft tyres. It is a result that leaves a bitter taste in our mouth, as the performance of the car was good. The choice to be on medium tyres was the right one, as we saw throughout the race: we knew we’d be a bit vulnerable at the restarts, but overall it was the best compound to be on. With Zhou, we tried to put him on softs at the end of the race to get him to overtake the drivers ahead of him: our crew did a very good job at the pit-stop, but this choice ultimately didn’t help him get closer to Valtteri and overtake Magnussen and Stroll. We couldn’t convert our pace into points tonight, but we can be confident for tomorrow. Our race execution will need to be perfect and we’ll need to be aggressive from the very start, especially with Valtteri fighting for points within the top ten. We know tyre degradation will be a big factor in the race: we will need to see what FIA and Pirelli decide in terms of tyre usage and stops, as this will have a huge impact on our strategy, especially as we attempt a comeback with Zhou and to maximise Valtteri’s chances.”

Valtteri Bottas (car number 77):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team C43 (Chassis 02/Ferrari)
SQ1: 1:26.449 (5 laps)
SQ2: 13th / 1:26.236 (3 laps)
Sprint: 10th
Fastest lap: 1:29.017 (Lap 17)
Tyres: New Medium (19 Laps)

“Today has been an interesting day: we learnt that we have decent race pace, which allowed us to fight with those around us and, although we didn’t get into the top eight, we gained a couple of positions on track, giving us confidence ahead of tomorrow’s main race. I was happy to be on the medium tyres, as the softs seemed to be dropping off quite a lot; unfortunately, I think the last Safety Car lasted a couple of laps too long, and therefore we couldn’t try and build something up in the final stages of the Sprint. Still, tomorrow we’ll be starting from a more favourable position, within the top ten, so we’ll hopefully get to build on today’s pace and get a more realistic shot at a points finish.”


Zhou Guanyu (car number 24):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team C43 (Chassis 01/Ferrari)
SQ1: 1:26.669 (5 laps)
SQ2: 15th / 1:54.546 (5 laps)
Sprint: 14th
Fastest lap: 1:29.553 (Lap 17)
Tyres: New Medium (11 Laps) – New Soft (8 Laps)

“It’s been a busy race for us and we were in a lot of the action. There was very little grip out there, but our pace on mediums was quite good and we were doing pretty well, closing in on Lance [Stroll]. When the last Safety Car came out, we tried to roll the dice with the softs and split the strategy compared to Valtteri, but that didn’t really work – the degradation on soft was just too much. All in all, we learnt a lot for tomorrow: starting from P20 will be challenging but we can only go forward. I know what we need to do: overtaking won’t be easy, especially if DRS trains form, but if we can get some clean air we can use our good pace to make up some ground.”

www.sauber-group.com/motorsport/f1-news/2023-qatar-grand-prix-saturday/

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