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SBNation.com – All Posts: Is Alfa Romeo ready to surprise the F1 world in Montreal?


F1 Grand Prix of Spain - Practice
Photo by Dan Mullan – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

If last season is any indication, Alfa Romeo could earn an unexpected result in the Canadian Grand Prix

So far this Formula 1 season, there have not been many surprises, at least at the front of the field. Esteban Ocon’s surprise podium in the Monaco Grand Prix might be one, but for the most part the shocks have been few and far between.

But could Alfa Romeo have a surprise in store for the field in the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix?

If past is prologue, they just might. A season ago Alfa Romeo left Montreal behind with a double-points finish, as Valtteri Bottas finished in seventh place, while teammate Zhou Guanyu came across the line just behind him, in eighth.

That result was one of just two double-points weekends for the team, the other being the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Coming off a race where Zhou had what he described as “one of his best days” in F1, as he notched a ninth-place finish, the team is looking ahead to a track where they have enjoyed success over the years.

“I am delighted to be returning to Canada this week, I have very good memories from my first time around here a year ago – and I am keen to make some more,” said Zhou in the team’s preview of the Canadian Grand Prix.

“Even though the track is very different from Barcelona, hopefully we will be able to keep up with the performances shown there,” he added. “If we are at our best from the very first practice session, we’ll be able to qualify in a favourable position and extend our point scoring streak on Sunday.”

The Circuit de Gilles-Villeneuve is a track where Bottas has enjoyed a lot of success over his F1 career. He has notched four podiums in Montreal over his career, and while all four of those came when he was driving for Mercedes, in his Alfa Romeo debut in Canada a year ago he came away seventh.

“I enjoyed racing here in Montreal in the past, and I am looking forward to this weekend,” said Bottas. We know our car has the potential to do well, and that will be our aim from Friday onwards, putting Barcelona behind us and adding new points to our tally.”

Alfa Romeo currently sits on eight points this season, tied with Haas. While Guenther Steiner’s charges have the tiebreaker advantage — thanks to Nico Hülkenberg’s seventh-place finish in the Australian Grand Prix — Montreal gives the team a chance to take a step forward in the standings.

“We head to Montreal with confidence: we had one of our best results of last season here, and the aim, of course, is to replicate that,” said team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi.

“The pace we showed throughout the weekend in Spain was promising, and a confirmation that the upgrades we brought are pushing us in the right direction,” he added. “We must keep up with the good performances: we know now, more than ever, that we have it in us, and if we execute a flawless weekend, we are perfectly capable to achieve even more.”

Accomplishing that goal might indeed provide one of the bigger surprises this F1 season.

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