Kimi Raikkonen admitted he never harboured high hopes of scoring points for the second consecutive race at the Russian Grand Prix.
The former World Champion had opened his account for the 2020 campaign when finishing P9 at the Tuscan Grand Prix last time out, but had to settle for P14 at Sochi.
The Finn was among the last drivers to make his pit-stop and when he did, a problem with the front left wheel cost him time. He diced with Sebastian Vettel but ended up one place behind his former Ferrari team-mate and three spots adrift of his Alfa Romeo colleague, Antonio Giovinazzi.
“I think the car was behaving reasonably well, we lost some time at the pit-stop but that’s how we end up,” said 40-year-old Raikkonen, who started P19 on the grid following a spin during qualifying.
“We had good speed in the end but it’s hard to get past people. Anyhow, there were three cars in front of me [to get in the points] and that still wouldn’t have been enough, the 10th car was quite far away.”
That's all today from Russia 🏁
— Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN (@alfaromeoracing) September 27, 2020
It was a better race for Giovinazzi, whose place at Alfa Romeo for next year is believed to be under serious threat from, primarily, Mick Schumacher.
But the Italian served up a reminder of his talent with some deft overtaking and he will have been pleased to finish ahead of Vettel’s Ferrari.
“I think in the end it was a positive race,” said Giovinazzi, who maintained his 100% record of gaining at least one place on the opening lap of races this season.
“Again, a good first lap – I gained quite a lot of positions. After that, I think we did the maximum we could, P11 was the maximum. Unfortunately, one more position and we could have scored points, but happy with the feeling I had with the car during the race and the strategy.”
Giovinazzi thinks Alfa Romeo are making progress in their quest to elevate themselves from the cluster of backmarker teams into the midfield.
He added: “We need to just keep pushing like this and hopefully we can have another good result at the next race in Germany.
“I was happy with the pace of the car and I think if we want to race with AlphaTauri it’s still not as good as we want, but we have closed the gap a lot and we just need to keep working this way.”