Frédéric Vasseur says the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN team can take encouragement from their performance during Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix even if points remained out of reach for the squad.
Kimi Räikkönen remains without a top ten finish in 2020 after ending the day in twelfth, although he was the leading Ferrari-powered car at the end, ahead of both Scuderia Ferrari drivers.
Antonio Giovinazzi was an early retiree after crashing out in the middle sector, but the Italian was keeping Sebastian Vettel honest at the time of his incident.
Vasseur, the Team Principal at Alfa Romeo, says the pace of the C39-Ferrari was encouraging, particularly in the middle sector, but the team continue to seek their first points since the opening race of the season.
“It was a race of two halves, unfortunately, but we showed some more competitiveness compared to previous rounds,” said Vasseur. “Kimi lost some ground at the start but was able to make it back into 15th within a few laps, whereas Antonio had a really good launch and was putting pressure on Vettel’s Ferrari.
“His race ended at lap nine, but both drivers were able to keep their rivals honest with some decent pace. Kimi had a strong race and ran in the points after the pit stops: unfortunately, we seemed to be quicker on the twisty part of the track, where overtaking is not that easy, and he couldn’t make his way past Kvyat.
“In the end, P12 is the most we could have done today and, while points remain elusive, we can take a bit of encouragement from our performance.”
“I feel the result today is as good as it could have been” – Kimi Räikkönen
Räikkönen, who has yet to score a point in any of the first seven races of 2020, felt the result in Belgium was as good as it was going to get, particularly after getting stuck behind Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda’s Daniil Kvyat.
The Finn was quicker than the Russian in the middle sector, but the other two sectors favoured the AlphaTauri and it forced the former Formula 1 World Champion to fall in behind him until the chequered flag.
“I feel the result today is as good as it could have been,” said Räikkönen. “The car felt good but P12 is the most we could get, and that gives you no points: it’s disappointing as we really gave everything we had.
“The start was bad, the car went into antistall at turn one and it put me at the very back. After that we had good speed but sadly not enough to make it into the top ten. I got stuck behind Kvyat, I felt I was quicker than him in the middle sector but couldn’t get a run on him where I could try a pass.
“We’ll try to make more progress in Monza.”
“I was on the limit and when you’re there, sometimes mistakes can happen” – Antonio Giovinazzi
Team-mate Giovinazzi apologised to his team and to Williams Racing’s George Russell for crashing out on the tenth lap, with the Italian hitting the barriers hard at turn fourteen.
Russell was running behind him and was unable to avoid a tyre that had detached itself from Giovinazzi’s car, and ultimately both ended up with hard hits into the wall.
The Italian was pushing to try and stay within the DRS range of Ferrari’s Vettel when the accident happened, which brought out the safety car as a result. It was the second year in succession that Giovinazzi has crashed out of the Belgian Grand Prix.
“A disappointing ending to my race: I was pushing a lot to keep within DRS range of Sebastian [Vettel] and the car just snapped on the exit,” said Giovinazzi. “I was on the limit and when you’re there, sometimes mistakes can happen.
“I feel sorry for the team as they deserved a good result this weekend, and of course also for George [Russell] as his race was compromised as well, although I couldn’t do anything about that.
“There are still some positives I can take from this race: I had another really good start, I made up a few places and I was able to be in a fight with the Ferraris, so we can build on that. Next race up is my home race in Italy, I’ll need to reset and be in a better shape for next weekend.”