Kimi Räikkönen thought he had scored Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN’s first points of the 2021 Formula 1 season at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari on Sunday, only for a post-race penalty to relegate him down the order.
The Finn had finished on the road in ninth, but a time penalty saw him classified only thirteenth. Räikkönen had spun whilst running behind the safety car and had lost two places but was penalised for not going to the pit lane at the restart. Had he retaken those places, he may have avoided the penalty, but stewards at Imola deemed the offence was worthy of being penalised.
“It was a good recovery after yesterday and to take points from P16 on the grid would have been a great story,” said Räikkönen. “The conditions were very tricky, the track was slippery and it never fully dried up – it was so easy to make a mistake.
“We made a good start but couldn’t see anything in the spray; we did ok on the inters, they came back at the end of the stint but at that point the track was dry enough for slicks. We struggled a bit more after the red flag, but we were able to use the track layout to our advantage and keep everyone else behind to finish in P9.”
Räikkönen feels that despite missing out on points that they can take many positives away from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, particularly the fact that Alfa Romeo were able to fight for points for a second consecutive race weekend.
“Unfortunately, we then got this penalty that means we don’t get anything to show for it, but at least we can look positively at our performance,” he added.
“We have been fighting for the points two races in a row, hopefully we can keep improving even more.”
“Hopefully luck will be more on our side in the future” – Antonio Giovinazzi
Team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi also missed out on points but for a very different reason, with the Italian being forced to pit unexpectedly as something lodged itself in his brake ducts.
Giovinazzi had been running inside the points, just behind Räikkönen, when the issue materialised, and the subsequent trip to the pit lane ensured he ended up only fourteenth at the chequered flag.
“We were having a fantastic race until our issue and it was a matter of finally being able to show our true race potential,” said Giovinazzi. “The conditions at the beginning of the race were very difficult, they reminded me of Hockenheim 2019 with very poor visibility.
“Kimi and I were both running in the points and to finish with both cars in the top ten was definitely on the cards, but unfortunately we had a technical issue with one of the brakes that required a pit stop.”
Like Räikkönen, Giovinazzi says he can take positives away from Imola, and he hopes the luck that deserted the team in Italy can be on their side in the future.
“I focus on the positives: we have a good car and we can fight for a top ten finish in most races,” he said. “Hopefully luck will be more on our side in the future and we can get the rewards we deserve.”