Red flags ‘destroyed’ Kimi’s qualifying once again

Henry Valantine
Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo

Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo

Kimi Raikkonen said red flags have been ruining his qualifying sessions of late, with interruptions in Monaco, Baku and at Paul Ricard on Saturday.

The Finn will start P17 after a session that saw him unable to complete a second flying lap that would give him the opportunity to get through to Q2.

Yuki Tsunoda brought the session to a halt first after spinning off at Turn 1, before Mick Schumacher went off late in the session and ended Q1 before the final flying laps could finish in France.

After similar issues in the two previous street circuits, the 2007 World Champion was left ruing his luck after a tough Saturday, despite recent improvements in the performance of Alfa Romeo’s car.

“Recently, the red flags seem to destroy my laps all the time,” Raikkonen said.

“I was on a good one, the time was going to be okay, but when the red flag came out it was game over.

“In the end, that’s what it is and there’s nothing I can do about it. P17 on the grid is not ideal, but tomorrow is another day: our race pace was okay yesterday so we will try to get a result out of a disappointing Saturday.”

Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo
Kimi Raikkonen

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Raikkonen’s team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi was able to progress through to Q2 but thought there was more lap time available to him during the session.

He finished less than a tenth away from getting up to P11, but could only manage P13 after Esteban Ocon and Sebastian Vettel nudged ahead of the Alfa Romeo driver.

With the freedom to start the race on any compound, the Italian thinks that can be an advantage in terms of strategy options on Sunday.

Giovinazzi said: “We can be happy about today’s result: our target was P11, to be close to the top ten but not quite in it, as we knew the soft tyres would not be a good compound for the race.

“We nearly hit this target and we were very close to the cars ahead of us: tomorrow there’s everything to play for.

“Choosing our starting tyre will allow us to maximise our strategy: if we have a good start and a clean first lap, we can make up some places and make our way into the points. Our race pace wasn’t bad so we can be confident.”

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