Kimi Raikkonen says Alfa Romeo showed a lot of potential while he was sidelined, and is aiming to convert that into strong results.
The Finn missed the last two races at Zandvoort and Monza after testing positive for COVID-19 and will be making his return in the Russian Grand Prix at Sochi.
In his absence, his team made it to Q3 at both race weekends courtesy of Antonio Giovinazzi but ultimately did not score any points at either.
Raikkonen is encouraged by the strong pace they had at times but says they need to start getting better results.
“I’m pleased to be back in the car after missing two rounds,” he told reporters in Russia.
“Obviously nobody wants to test positive, but it happened and we had to follow the rules. But that’s all in the past and now my focus is on Sochi.
“The team has shown some potential in the last few races. Now we need to convert that into a good result.
“I don’t think being back will feel any different. I just want to get on with my job and hopefully have a good race.”
— Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN (@alfaromeoracing) September 23, 2021
F1 TV are offering PlanetF1 readers 10% off both monthly and annual subscriptions! In order to claim this fantastic discount, click the following link and use the promo code PLANETF10 at checkout!*
*The offer ends at midnight on September 26 and excludes Netherlands
Robert Kubica took Raikkonen’s place while he was away and managed to avoid finishing last of those running at both races.
The Pole could not score points though and neither could Giovinazzi, which meant the team lost ground on Williams in the fight for P8 in the Constructors’ Championship.
Kimi says the results were not ideal but acknowledges Kubica had a big task on his hands stepping in at such short notice.
“I mean, obviously there was a better end result for both of them,” he added.
“But that’s how it went and it’s definitely not easy to come back after not driving for a long time in the race. It’s not going to be easy, so they did the best they could and we try again this week.”
Raikkonen is to retire at the end of this season, with compatriot Valtteri Bottas replacing him, and it looks likely his current team-mate, Giovinazzi, will also make way, being replaced by Guanyu Zhou.
Planet F1 verdict