George Russell and Williams showed strong pace across both weekends at the Red Bull Ring but failed to score a single point as Alfa Romeo remained 8th in a tightly-contested battle between the two teams.
Raikkonen and Giovinazzi both got stuck behind the Williams cars at the Red Bull Ring eight days ago as the straight-line speed of Russell and Latifi meant they found it extremely difficult to try and overtake.
Alfa’s Head of Trackside Engineering Xevi Pujolar believes his team has the quicker car on Sunday, but acknowledged the stellar job George Russell has been doing for Williams on Saturday afternoons.
“It’s quick on the straights, I can confirm that,” said Pujolar on the battle between Williams and Alfa Romeo during a selected media session, with included MotorLat.com.
“It’s difficult to follow and pass on the straights, but I think we have got the better race car.
“In qualifying, I have to say, Russell is quite special. He does a very good job in qualifying and we just need to work harder and must do better. But in the race, we are generally better in terms of pace.
“[Red Bull Ring] is a specific track and Silverstone will not be easy but you can see that we can race with them: not only Russell, but we can fight with Alpine, with Aston Martin and even one of the AlphaTauris. So everything is very tight.”
Qualifying has been a strong suit for George Russell ever since he came into Formula 1, earning him the nickname of ‘Mr. Saturday’. Pujolar was asked how much a difference a driver can make on a Saturday afternoon compared to the relative speed of their car.
“It’s difficult to know,” said Pujolar.
“You can see between teams quite big differences. You have a lot of variables with the different tracks and conditions and with the tyres and everything being so tight, you don’t need much to go from hero to zero very quickly.
“For sure, [Russell] has been putting in some strong qualifyings. We are trying to do that and are showing we are making improvements... but we want to do that with both cars, not only with one.”
While Alfa struggled in both qualifying sessions at the Red Bull Ring, Pujolar disagreed with the assessment that their performance had been disappointing.
Raikkonen just missed out on the points at the Styrian Grand Prix thanks to a P11 finish, and was fighting for 11th at the Austrian GP with Russell and Vettel when he collided with his former teammate on the final lap.
“The performance I don’t think has been disappointing,” said Pujolar on Alfa’s speed in Austria. “The performance is there, we are there with them [Williams], we just need one more step.
“For sure everyone always wants to be better and I think from last weekend to this weekend, we have done a step better. We have improved our one-timed-lap performance and in the race we are still there because we have shown we are still fighting with them.
“They [Williams] did a step in qualifying, not just against us because they were in front of the Ferraris and many other teams as well.
“But then in the race they are not able to stay there. So at the moment, that is good on our side, but we need to keep working hard because they are getting quite strong.”