Räikkönen, Giovinazzi Aiming for Q3 after Positive Friday at Paul Ricard

by Paul Hensby

Kimi Räikkönen was somewhat positive about practice day at the Circuit Paul Ricard, with the Finn ending the afternoon session inside the top ten for Alfa Romeo Racing.

Räikkönen ended the morning session down in sixteenth but improved significantly later in the day to end up ninth fastest, with his lap of 1:32.677 1.740 seconds away from the best lap of the session set by Mercedes AMG Motorsport’s Valtteri Bottas.

The Finn says it is important to keep working hard to get the most out of the car as Alfa Romeo strive to end their barren run without a points finish, with the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April the last time Räikkönen finished inside the top ten.

“It’s easy to see what the lap times tell, but as usual you cannot read too much into Fridays,” said Räikkönen.  “In general, I think it was a positive day.

“We have to keep working to get more out of the car and we’ll see where we end up in qualifying tomorrow.”

Team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi says Alfa Romeo should be aiming for the top ten in Qualifying on Saturday after the Italian finished eleventh fastest in the afternoon session in France.  Giovinazzi has yet to score a point in 2019 and has only one appearance in Q3 all year, but after a strong first day he feels it is possible again this weekend.

“We can be pleased with our first day on track and with finishing close to the top ten,” said Giovinazzi.  “The midfield is still really tight, so we will need to work a lot tonight and find the last bits of performance, but it was a positive start.

“Tomorrow is another day so we need to focus, work hard and try to have the best car possible for qualifying. Q3 remains our target.”

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