Kimi Räikkönen reflected on one of the more positive days he has had so far in 2020 on Friday, with the Finn ending eleventh and ninth respectively in the two practice sessions at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello.
Räikkönen also reminisced on his first experience of the track in a Formula 1 car since he made his testing debut with the Sauber F1 Team in 2000, just months before he made his Grand Prix debut with the same team.
The Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN driver says there is always time to find but finishing as high up as he did in both sessions made for a promising day as he seeks his first points finish of the season.
“It’s nice to be back driving at Mugello, the track where I made my first laps in an F1 car, 20 years ago,” said Räikkönen. “Surely my neck feels a lot better now than it did at the end of my first day of testing!
“The track has the same feel, it’s not much different with the exception of some kerbs. It’s a difficult circuit, so finding a setup can be challenging, especially being here for the first time and with no data to use as a reference.
“It’s quite a unique layout in many ways and it needs a different approach, which is why we need to keep working on the setup, both tonight and in FP3. You never run out of things to improve but we looked promising today, so let’s see where we end up tomorrow.”
“It will be important to qualify as far high as we can” – Antonio Giovinazzi
Team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi says it will be important to get a good lap time during Qualifying on Saturday after a mistake cost him time on his quick lap attempt on Friday afternoon, which left him floundering down in seventeenth.
The Italian was happy to see fans in the grandstands for the first time in 2020 at Mugello, with the venue hosting his second ‘home’ race in as many weeks after last weekend’s event at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
Giovinazzi said the car was feeling good at Mugello, but it will be up to him not to make mistakes when it matters on Saturday afternoon, with Qualifying and track position likely to be the key to a good result on Sunday.
“It’s nice to be on track in Italy again, and seeing some fans in the stands,” said Giovinazzi. “We missed having spectators and hopefully they’ll watch a nice race on Sunday.
“The track here in Mugello is amazing, especially with modern Formula 1 cars: it’s just so fast, with many high-speed corners that really feel great in an F1 car – even if the neck will really feel it on Sunday!
“The car felt really good from the start today, on both qualifying and race trim, so we can be happy about our first day. Unfortunately, I did a small mistake during my fast lap in FP2, so the times don’t reflect how we really did, but tomorrow is when we really need to put together a good lap.
“I think we can do a good job; getting to Q2 is the target, then we can assess our chances. We saw already that following cars will be quite difficult, so it will be important to qualify as far high as we can, get a good start and build our race from there.”