Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi expressed their excitement over qualifying for Sunday’s Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix after a strong Free Practice 1 and 2 for Alfa Romeo Racing.
Räikkönen finished sixth in both sessions, making him the best placed non-Mercedes AMG Motorsport, Scuderia Ferrari and Red Bull Racing driver at Albert Park.
The Finn set a best time of a 1:23.572 in the day’s second session, leaving him 0.972 seconds shy of pacesetter Lewis Hamilton for Mercedes.
Full-season rookie Giovinazzi, taking part in his first complete F1 race weekend for nearly two years, finished just outside the top ten in Free Practice 1, but fell to fifteenth in the day’s second session.
39-year-old Räikkönen said that there were few troubles for Alfa Romeo and anticipates a tight midfield battle in Saturday’s Qualifying session.
“We have a solid day of work behind us, there were no big issues,” said Räikkönen.
“We still have some set-up work to do to improve the car, but overall it felt quite good.
“I look forward to qualifying tomorrow, behind the top teams anything is possible.”
Italian Giovinazzi echoed Räikkönen’s sentiments, with both drivers praising the balance of the C38, despite both of them suffering an off-track excursion in changeable winds in Melbourne.
Giovinazzi said that he felt comfortable with Alfa Romeo’s long run pace, opting to use the soft and hard compounds in Free Practice 2 over 37 laps.
“Overall, the day was positive,” Giovinazzi said.
“The car felt good and I am happy with our performance, especially regarding the long-runs.
“I am excited to have started my first full race weekend and look forward to being back on track tomorrow.”