Raikkonen denies 2021 Alfa Romeo deal is signed

Jon Wilde
Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen has rejected rumours that he has already penned a deal to stay with Alfa Romeo next year.

Comfortably the oldest driver on the grid, Raikkonen, who will turn 41 next month, had earlier this season been linked with retirement at the end of the campaign.

However, more recently, reports have indicated the flying Finn is wanted by Alfa Romeo to stay with the team for 2021 – potentially to provide the experience which complements a young Ferrari Academy driver such as Mick Schumacher.

But after qualifying 20th and last for the Russian Grand Prix at Sochi, having spun 360 degrees during his final run in Q1, Raikkonen denied he had formally committed himself to another year in F1.

“No, I haven’t signed a single contract,” said the 2007 World Champion, who collected his first points of the season when he finished P9 at the Tuscan Grand Prix last time out, quoted by Motorsport Week.

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However, he will be hard pushed to emulate that result in Russia due to a spin that wrecked any hopes he had of making it out of Q1 for a fourth time in five races.

“I spun, as simple as that,” said Raikkonen. “I almost spun starting the lap, the tyres were a bit too cold, locked the front wheel a bit and then hit the kerb and spun, so as simple as that.

“The first lap wasn’t very good either in the first part and then after that the car felt pretty good, so it’s a shame but that’s how it goes.”

Raikkonen inadvertently hindered his team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi, who was the car behind him on the road when he spun, and the Italian also exited in Q1 as he took P17 on the grid.

Giovinazzi has gained at least one position on the opening lap of every race this year and will try to maintain that impressive record.

“I did a mistake on the first run, the second was a little bit better,” said Giovinazzi. “But I had to slow down a little bit when Kimi spun in front of me at Turn 2. After that I think I lost just enough to go to Q2.

“We’ll see tomorrow now. I’ll try to gain positions on the first lap and try to stay there. We don’t give up and we will try our best.”

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