Alfa admit ‘reverse strategy didn’t pay off’

Jon Wilde
Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo

Frederic Vasseur admitted a contrary strategy decision had not worked out after a French Grand Prix without points for Alfa Romeo.

In Monaco and Azerbaijan, Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen respectively had opened their points accounts for the season by finishing 10th.

But a race at Paul Ricard in which all 20 cars reached the chequered flag did not play into Alfa Romeo’s hands as the Italian and Finn ended up 15th and 17th. Giovinazzi was classified two places lower than his grid slot, while Raikkonen finished in the same position he had started.

Whereas most teams opted to switch from medium to hard tyres mid-race, Alfa went the opposite route – and team principal Vasseur acknowledged it had been the wrong call.

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Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur

“After two good races in the points and a promising qualifying, it was a rather difficult afternoon for the team,” Vasseur said.

“We made some progress at the start, but unfortunately our choice to go for a reverse strategy didn’t pay off.

“We started on hards but got caught in a lot of traffic and that cost us quite some time.

“In the second part of the race, we weren’t able to maximise the potential of the medium tyres as we had to deal with all the blue flags, so we couldn’t really make up any ground.

“We will learn from this, of course, and come back stronger for the double-header in Austria.”

Raikkonen concurred with many of his rivals that the tyres had grained much more than anticipated, and also said the gusty conditions had created another unexpected factor.

“It was surprising how difficult it was with the tyres, how much they grain,” said the 2007 World Champion. “I was trying to look after the tyres and hoping to do something in the end but that was it.

“The wind changed in some corners, which were pretty tricky and understeery in the race – completely different from the other parts of the weekend.”

Although Giovinazzi did slightly better than Raikkonen, he knew a points finish was out of the question.

“The pace was not there today and I think it was impossible to be in the top 10,” he said. “We need to focus on checking everything and try to be stronger at the Red Bull Ring.”

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