Valtteri Bottas predicted that the entire Alfa Romeo team would be buoyed by their success in Saturday's qualifying session for the Mexican Grand Prix at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.
Bottas was consistently strong through all three rounds, finishing Q1 in fourth place and staying in the top ten all the way through to the end of Q3 in which he managed to pick up sixth on the grid for Sunday's race.
That's his best starting position of the year since the Miami Grand Prix back in May. It gives him a solid chance of coming away from the weekend with points for the first time since the Canadian round in June.
“It’s been a while since we had a result like this in qualifying, and I think it’s really uplifting for the whole team," the Finn said. "I’m personally pleased with having delivered the best lap of the whole weekend when it mattered.
“It’s been good all weekend," he told the media in Mexico City after the end of qualifying. "FP1 we saw we were in the top ten but we didn’t know if other teams were lacking pace or something.
"Maybe the upgrades we’ve had in the last few races, somehow they are popping out here a bit more," he suggested. "I felt really comfortable and had good laps, especially the last lap in Q3.
"Considering the altitude and the smooth surface, it actually feels good," he continued. "It’s been quite an easy car to drive, in a way.
"The kerbing has been good, and since practice one I just had good confidence," he added. "We started also with the right set-ups, just fine-tuning and building up from a good practice one.
"The track layout did help, with slow-speed corners that really work well for us," he acknowledged.
As positive as Saturday's success was for the team, it's Sunday that really counts because that's when the points are handed out.
The recent drought in top ten finishes means that Alfa Romeo is under increasing pressure if it's to hang on to sixth place in the constructors championship.
With three races remaining in 2022, they are only three points ahead of Aston Martin, with Haas and AlphaTauri all within range to mount a late charge.
"We need points for our battle in the championship and we’re in an excellent position to have a good fight," Bottas asserted.
"I’m optimistic for tomorrow," he said. “I think we have a good base. We’ve seen also in long runs also the pace is there.
"We should hopefully be best of the midfield, let’s say. All we need is a good clean Lap 1 and that way, hopefully, we can have a good race.
“Based on all the runs we’ve done - low fuel, high fuel - we seem to be around sixth, seventh place. I hope tomorrow is a good day because we need some points.
"We’re in an excellent position to have a good fight. It’s F1, so everything can happen, but we’re up there and that’s what matters today."
Bottas' team mate Zhou Guanyu was less fortunate in qualifying and missed the cut at the end of Q2. That means he will start tomorrow's race from 12th place on the grid.
“In terms of today’s qualifying, I feel I did the best I could," Zhou said. "In the end, I was very close to getting into Q3 again, being just two tenths off.
"I struggled the whole weekend so far and it hasn’t been easy to have a smooth, trouble-free session, especially on a track that is not among the easiest ones to drive.
"To get this close to Q3 with my final lap was a positive: I tried and eventually I didn’t make it, but at least this time I feel there was nothing left out there.
"It’s great to see Valtteri being so fast today, and overall the progress both cars have been making. The gap for the top ten is quite close, and I think we will be in a good position for fighting for points tomorrow."
2022 Mexican Grand Prix, Alfa Romeo, qualifying, Valtteri Bottas, Zhou Guanyu