Portugal & Emilia Romagna GP 2020 - GP preview - AlphaTauri
“I was super happy with my sixth place at the Nürburgring, especially since Saturday had been tricky because the characteristics of the track did not suit us as well as the ones we had raced on recently. At the moment I feel I am very comfortable with the way we are all working as a team, and race by race we are increasing our understanding of what it takes to get the most out of the car. I am satisfied with how things are going and happy that the results are there. The team is doing all it can and that makes me happy. Now we take that momentum forward to the next race.
“I have never been to Portimao, but I have had two days in the simulator to prepare for it, as well as Imola. It will be exciting going to two tracks I don’t know, even if I have driven a handful of laps at Imola. I find it interesting going to new places: already this year we have had Mugello, where I had never raced, and also Nürburgring was the first time for me in a Formula 1 car and I have enjoyed that. Portimao looks to be a very nice track, with plenty of elevation changes and some unusual corners, and although I think a few teams tested there many years ago, it has never really been used for Formula 1. It will be important therefore for the team to be well prepared and to do a good job in free practice. Let’s see how we go there. At the moment, we seem quite strong on Sundays, managing to fight for points, even if we struggle a bit in qualifying. I am looking forward to it and looking forward to some warmer weather, as it was really cold at the Nürburgring, so it will be nice to return to more normal conditions.
“After that, we go straight to Imola. In June we had a filming day with the team there, and even if it was possible to do only a few laps, I enjoyed running around the track a lot. It’s an old-school track, one of those I really like, with gravel traps, high-speed and blind corners and elevation changes. It’s not going to be easy to set up the car properly for Qualifying and the race with only one Free practice, but it’s a nice challenge which makes the weekend very exciting. Actually, we have tested this format at the Nürburgring when both Friday sessions were cancelled, and I have to say we managed to do everything we needed and the race was a really good one. Hopefully, it will be the same in Imola where the temperatures might be quite cold like in Germany. Last but not least, it’s another home Grand Prix, the closest one to the team’s HQ – only around 20 km away. It’s a pity that, because of the Covid situation, people are not allowed in the paddock, otherwise it could have been a great opportunity for all the Scuderia AlphaTauri employees to visit the garage in organized slots and see live on site what they all work for. I’ll try to do all I can to deliver the best possible performance like always, good points in Imola would be a big thank you to them all.”
“Unfortunately, the Nürburgring race did not go well for me from lap 12 onward when I got hit by Albon, but these things happen in racing. He got penalised, but my race was damaged from then on and so was my car. Up until then, I was definitely racing for solid points and I had been happy with my lap in Quali. However, the events were out of my control and luck has not been my strongest point this year, to be honest. Nothing seems to have landed in my basket for free. I have had to work hard for everything.
“But we will turn the page and move on. We keep working, we keep digging with my engineers and I am still happy with the way we approach each race weekend. Our understanding of the car is much better, and it will come right soon. It’s been good for the last few races and it was just this last weekend where we were unable to score points.
“As for the next race, I’ve never been to Portimao, so it will be a completely new experience for me and I guess for most of the other drivers. It will be an interesting challenge. A while ago, I did a few laps of the Algarve circuit on the simulator, but it’s not so fresh in my mind. I think we will have to work hard and learn everything we can on Friday and Saturday morning. It’s a fresh start! It is quite an unusual layout, with drops and climbs, so something different to work on. We should get ideal weather there at this time of year, in the low 20s maybe, certainly better than the unusual conditions we had at the Nürburgring.
“Then it’s time for Imola. I am looking forward to the weekend a lot. It’s a very exciting track and we did just a few laps there before the season for a filming day. In any case, I knew it from before when I raced there in Formula Renault eight years ago. It’s a lovely old-fashioned track with cool corners and it’s great to see it back on the calendar. Hopefully, we can be competitive there. It’s yet another home race, the third in Italy and for me, there was also the Russian Grand Prix. I like having a lot of races in Italy because in the end, this country has such strong links to motorsport and it’s cool that we are going there. We also have to deal with just a Saturday and a Sunday weekend. That was meant to be something new, but we have actually tested the system and had a taste of it at the Nürburgring already! It means you have to work on a steeper learning curve and there is a risk of not finding the ideal setup with a lot less running. But it’s the same for everyone, we just need to be proactive and get it right straight away.”