Alfa Romeo showed up at the Spanish GP held last weekend at Barcelona’s Montmelò with the first, large package of novelties for Valtteri Bottas’ C42 and these immediately showed that they could give further performance to a car that was immediately born well.
In Hinwil, home of the Swiss team, there was great anticipation to understand the actual potential of the novelties. Expectations were high, but perhaps what we saw first in qualifying and then in the race went well beyond expectations.
Valtteri Bottas managed to take a splendid sixth place finish after a race that was all over the top of the standings. For several laps, also thanks to retirements (Leclerc above all) and errors or misfortunes (Sainz and Hamilton), the former Mercedes driver found himself occupying fourth place.
But what was impressive was not having taken advantage of the opportunity, but the race pace shown by the C42 number 77. If the three top teams confirmed that they were unattainable, Alfa Romeo was the dominant team in the center of the group. In fact, no one seemed able to question the supremacy of the red-white car behind Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes.
“The package performed as we expected. We wanted to be the best of the others and, if possible, challenge the fastest cars, so we tried to do that,” said Xevi Pujolar, head of trackside engineering at Alfa Romeo. “Again, we were racing with Ferrari and Mercedes with Valtteri. Mercedes also upgraded the package and took a big step forward. Hamilton was very fast in the race. And Ferrari, for the moment, is too fast for us. “
“When we fight with them in the race, we try to challenge them, not to give up and today we drove but at a certain point we had to give up otherwise we risked losing even more positions. To be realistic here we went to keep, if possible, the McLarens and the Alpine, the Tauri behind in the race, in the championship we are still fighting with them but, in the race, the main objective was to keep a gap from these guys and if we have the margin why not challenge the Ferraris and Hamilton “.
George Russell, Mercedes W13, wrestles with Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C42
Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images
“Surely we always want more, right? At one point we were fighting for P4. I think we were very strong in the race. If we want to fight with Ferrari, and indeed Leclerc was in the lead, we still have some work to do. . But if you look at the mid-table, I think our expectations have been met. If you compare with the midfield, all the others were behind, with a decent gap. “
“If you also look at Zhou, we lost a few positions at the beginning and then he fought with the others. In Barcelona, halfway through the stint, on a track that was difficult to overtake, Zhou made a good number of overtakes. Hamilton too. , when he was very fast, he did some overtaking, but Zhou is in his first year in Formula 1 and he is fighting against people with a lot of experience in midfield and he is making some overtakes. So, it means we have a package that works and two drivers that behave very well “.
Pujolar then turned his gaze to the next round, the Monaco Grand Prix, which will be disputed already this weekend. Alfa Romeo’s expectations remain high. Certainly not to fight against the three top teams, but to confirm themselves in front of everyone in the center of the group.
“In terms of performance, I certainly don’t expect anything magical, we are strong at low speeds, but the top teams are also strong at low speeds, it’s not that we are much better than them, we are closer to them. better gap compared to midfield, a little more margin, I think that for Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes, looking at the performances they are having in sector 3 here, they are still good. Then we will see how it will end. “
“Here now, in the race, there have been many situations that can happen, at one point we were fighting with Sainz and Hamilton, fighting for P4 and then we ended up in P6. Why not aim for P4 or something better? We will definitely try. If someone makes a mistake, we will try to seize the opportunity. The number 1 priority for us is probability and making sure we have both cars fast, because if Zhou is there, we are a strong competitor. “