Alfa Romeo may have left Bahrain with zero points, but team boss Frederic Vasseur was really encouraged by their display at the 2021 season opener.
The Ferrari customer team found themselves in a race to avoid the bottom throughout the 2020 season and, along with Haas and Williams, found themselves detached from the main midfield fight.
But, both Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi found themselves just outside of the points places with P11 and P12 finishes respectively in Bahrain and that is giving Vasseur plenty of optimism for the next races on the calendar.
“Bahrain gave us a strong indication of the progress we have made in the last twelve months,” Vasseur said.
“We raced with authority, leaving the Alpines and an Aston Martin behind us and finishing on the tail of the other Aston.
“Even though we leave Bahrain with no points, we do so having reclaimed our place in the midst of the midfield – and results will surely come soon.
“We demonstrated to be the able to fight in and around the top ten and we can look with optimism to the rest of the season.
“It was an eventful race, even though the low attrition rate – just two retirements – meant we had our work cut out when aiming for a place in the points.
“We take a lot of positives, however, knowing we can go to the next race in Imola, in two weeks, ready to battle again for a place in the top ten.”
First chequered flag of the year. We put up a good fight and we nearly took away a point. Good effort boys. 👏🏻
— Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN (@alfaromeoracing) March 28, 2021
Raikkonen also shared some of Vasseur’s optimism but was still frustrated to lose a top 10 spot having spent a large chunk of the race there.
“It wasn’t a bad race, we had some good fights and the car behaved nicely, but it’s disappointing not to bring home points when we were in the top ten nearly all night,” Raikkonen added.
“Had the race been a few laps longer, we probably would have been able to catch the cars in front but we will keep trying.
“The car felt good, as it did in testing, so it is clear we have made a step forward compared to last year: we still have a bit to work to close the gap with the top five teams, but we keep fighting to find that little bit extra.”