After the highs of Qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix last Saturday, Sunday at Intercity Istanbul Park was a day of disappointment for the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN team, with Kimi Räikkönen ending fifteenth and Antonio Giovinazzi retiring.
Räikkönen and Giovinazzi qualified eighth and tenth respectively in what was Alfa Romeo’s best Qualifying performance of 2020, but the race quickly unravelled as both dropped down the order early on. It was not the outcome the team once known as the Sauber F1 Team wanted in what was their five-hundredth race weekend.
Giovinazzi had already spun on the way to the grid before he retired with a gearbox issue, while Räikkönen struggled home in fifteenth after a race of struggles and the occasional spin.
“We weren’t able to capitalise on the very strong performance we delivered in qualifying yesterday, when we were among the fastest on track,” Frédéric Vasseur, the Team Principal of Alfa Romeo said after the race.
“Our race was challenging, with tyres being very hard to manage: we would have probably been able to hold our own on a wet track, but in progressively drying conditions we did struggle. In the end, we lost Antonio due to a technical issue early in the race and Kimi finished fifteenth, which is not what we had hoped.
“As a positive, at least, we didn’t lose any ground on our championship rivals and we are one step closer to confirming our eighth place in the standings, with three races left.”
“The race was far from fun” – Kimi Räikkönen
Räikkönen admitted the race was ‘far from fun’, but he knew it was going to be a difficult afternoon once they knew the weather conditions. He admitted it was tough to get the Pirelli tyres to work in the conditions.
“The race was far from fun, but it’s a bit what we expected once we saw the weather,” said Räikkönen. “We would have probably had a much better speed in a full wet race, but the mixed conditions definitely didn’t work in our favour.
“We struggled to make the tyres work, when they did they’d be good for ten laps and then fall off, so it was hard to get into a good rhythm. At least, we didn’t lose any points in the championship to our rivals.”
Giovinazzi admitted he was lucky to start the race after his spin on the way to the grid, with the Italian thanking his mechanics for fixing his broken front wing prior to the start. However, he lost positions at the start – a rarity in 2020 – and ultimately caused a virtual safety car period when he stopped on track with a gearbox issue after just eleven laps.
“It’s been a challenging Sunday after yesterday’s strong qualifying results,” said Giovinazzi. “I lost the car on the way to the grid, but luckily I only damaged the front wing: the crew did a great job changing it and getting the car ready for the start of the race.
“Unfortunately, our race didn’t last long: we had a gearbox issue and had to retire the car. It was a day like this, the conditions were even trickier than yesterday and in the end luck was not on our side. I’m just looking forward to the next race.”