Valtteri Bottas: “We’re not too much far off where we want to be”

Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN had a trouble free first day at the Italian Grand Prix, in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship. Before the start of the first session the mood in the paddock was somewhat subdued, following the news on Thursday of the passing of the British monarch. Ten minutes before Free Practice One, the Formula 1 personnel lined-up in the pit-lane, to observe a minutes silence in memory of Queen Elizabeth II as a sign of respect.

Guanyu Zhou and Valtteri Bottas both completed a good number of laps in both sessions and gathered crucial data for the engineers to use in anticipation for tomorrow’s Qualifying session.

Bottas was pleased with the team’s promising progress after ending the day in thirteenth, but admits that the car is capable of being higher up the grid.

“It felt good to be out there, it is a nice track to be driving and it’s even nicer when the car feels good like it did today. Pace-wise, we seem to be doing better than in the last couple of events, so that is promising looking ahead to Sunday.

“There is still some fine-tuning to do, but I feel we’re not too much far off where we want to be, and we will be looking for any small gains we can get tonight.

“Our pace seems better than the position we are going to be starting from, because of the penalties, and I reckon here we can overtake and move up places. Hopefully, we can end our dry spell in terms of points and get back into the top ten.”

Guanyu Zhou – “It was super close once again today”

Zhou finished twelfth in both practice sessions on Friday, and he is looking to build on the progress made by the Swiss team. Zhou hasn’t scored points since the Canadian Grand Prix, and he will be hoping to improve his form as he looks to secure a place in Formula 1 next season.

“We seemed to be quite competitive straight away from off, which was good to see, and I can say that the car felt much better compared to last week in Zandvoort.

“I’m quite happy with the progress we’re making but we know we need to keep working hard. Overall, it was super close once again today, and on a track like Monza it means two tenths could make the difference between Q2 and Q3.

“Qualifying tomorrow will be intense, and we still need to work hard overnight to put ourselves in the best for tomorrow.”

Credit: Antonin Vincent / DPPI