Alfa Romeo Team Representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi has set both of his drivers the “sole target” of converting top-10 starts into points at the Mexico City Grand Prix.

For only the second time this season, both Alfa Romeo drivers managed to advance into the final stage of qualifying.

Despite missing out on an hour of running as he vacated his seat in FP1 for Theo Pourchaire, Bottas was quick out of the blocks in FP2, setting the fourth fastest time.

The Finn has not left the top 10 since and earned himself a ninth-place starting grid spot for Sunday’s race.

“Coming into this weekend I was always expecting more than from Austin, and it seemed like it since first practice,” Bottas reviewed.

Last weekend, Alfa Romeo suffered by having to raise the car at the bumpy Circuit of the Americas, which proved “more penalising” for the Hinwil-based outfit than its competitors.

A return to a smoother asphalt surface at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, however, has allowed the team to maximise its package.

Meanwhile, the lower air density at an altitude has also served to negate the inherent drag problem Alfa Romeo’s C43 charger has carried throughout this season.

“We have been in the top ten in terms of pace all weekend, and that’s why it’s really good to get both cars in Q3,” Bottas continued.

“The only annoying thing today is that on my last lap, I had a lockup in the last sector so a bit of time lost, but still we take this result because it allows us to fight for decent points on Sunday.”

Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Alfa Romeo F1 Team C43.
28.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 20, Mexican Grand Prix, Mexico City, Mexico, Qualifying Day.
–, EMail: © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images

Alfa Romeo currently occupy eighth in the standings, 10 points behind Williams, with just six points the difference to bottom-placed AlphaTauri.

Bottas has insisted the Italian marque must take advantage of its promising qualifying, unlike in Hungary earlier this year.

“Really important [to capitalise] now. We have both Williams behind us, so to get some points against them tomorrow would be really good.”

“Of course Daniel [Ricciardo], he is in a really good place so it’s going to be an interesting day tomorrow. It’s quite a grid so I’m looking forward to it.”

After the chequered flag fell in Q2, it was announced that Alex Albon had breached track limits, promoting Guanyu Zhou into the top-10 shootout.

Although he was unable to make any further gains with his best attempt, the Chinese driver asserted that his focus has been directed more towards race pace this weekend.

“I think we made a very good step in improvements, just the whole weekend,” Zhou said.

“Compared to Valtteri, we know how strong he is on this track with his driving style but to close the gap from sixth tenths, four tenths to less than a few hundredths – we made a good step so I’m happy with that.

“Yesterday we tried some different things [to Bottas]. Today we went a bit closer in direction which worked. To have the one lap pace [as well], I was just happy.

“Yeah, it’s going to be a long one, there’s going to be a lot of focus on that [Constructors’ battle with AlphaTauri, Williams]. Let’s see how everything goes, but we have two cars [in the top 10] so maybe we can work together and catch the AlphaTauris.”

With the difference in prize money awarded between each position in the Constructors’ order worth millions of dollars, Alunni Bravi stressed the importance of converting a strong Saturday into a double points haul on Sunday.

“The result we have achieved today definitely represents a solid starting point for tomorrow’s race. We are delighted for both cars to have made it into Q3, and we must pay tribute to our drivers, to everyone trackside, as well as the team back home in Hinwil,” he said.

“We were able to properly maximise our package today, and I reckon we have a real chance to add points to our tally tomorrow.

“It wasn’t easy out there, but both Valtteri and Zhou did a solid job, having been able to extract the maximum from their cars and from their own performance. 

“The job is only halfway done, and our sole target must be converting these favourable starting positions into two points finishes. Today has been a good day for the team, but tomorrow is when we must be at our best and achieve good things.”

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