Raikkonen: Closing the gap but more needs doing

Michelle Foster
Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo

Kimi Raikkonen applauded Alfa Romeo’s progress at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix with the Finn scoring for only the second time this season as the team bagged its first double points haul.

Fresh from agreeing an extension to his Alfa Romeo deal for 2021, Raikkonen raced his way from 18th on the grid to ninth at the chequered flag.

It was the 41-year-old’s second top-ten result of the championship and came on the back of two near misses with a P12 at the Eifel GP and a P11 at the following race in Portugal.

This time, racing at Imola, he made it into the top ten.

Raikkonen ran a long first stint and was up in fourth place before he had to come in for his stop.

Unfortunately for the 2007 World Champion, it was perhaps a few laps too early as shortly after the Safety Car came out.

He finished P9 with his team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi 10th on the day.

“It was a good result for the team, with two cars in the points, so we can be happy about our race,” said Raikkonen.

“We knew we could make the tyres last so to run as long as we could was the plan all along.

“We pitted when we did and the Safety Car came out soon after, which is obviously a bit frustrating, but I don’t know if it would have made much of a difference.

“In the end, we had good race pace and we were able to be in the right place to gain from the opportunities that arose.

“We have been closing the gap lately, there’s obviously still much we can improve, but we keep working hard for that.”

Raikkonen was voted ‘Driver of the Day’ by Formula 1 fans.

Team boss Frederic Vasseur was delighted with Alfa Romeo’s first double points haul of the championship.

However, he acknowledges there is still a lot of work that needs to be done as the team remains P8 in the Constructors’ Championship, 81 points behind seventh placed AlphaTauri.

“The team has delivered a strong performance as a whole,” Vasseur said.

“The strategy calls were good, the pit stops went well and, of course, the drivers executed their races without putting a wheel wrong. Bringing home our first double-points finish of the season is a good reward for our efforts today.

“There is still a lot of work to do, of course, but we are making progress and we were in the right place to take advantage of how the race unfolded.”

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