More queries doesn’t always mean longer load time. For example, each hook throughout the theme (generate_before_header, generate_after_header etc..) count as 1 query each. These are just hooks and are read and loaded in 0.0002 of a second.
I just ran a test using the Query Monitor plugin (which also adds queries).
GP Premium + GP + Query Monitor ran 54 queries, totally in 0.0234 load time (in seconds).
Certain pages will have more queries (the blog, for each blog post loaded), and some will have less (a regular static page).
Speed is a huge priority for me with GP, so I’m constantly monitoring queries and php memory to make sure everything is being done efficiently.
When it comes to speed, hosting should be your #1 priority. Fast hosting is incredibly important. With cheap hosting, even the best written scripts out there can perform slowly.
GP is definitely not perfect, but I’m constantly working on it and improving it 🙂