Kimi Räikkönen will have his best starting position of the season at Silverstone on Sunday after coming through to finish thirteenth during the first-ever Sprint Qualifying race on Saturday.
The Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN had failed to escape Q1 during Friday evening’s Qualifying session but using the soft Pirelli tyre for the Sprint Qualifying race paid dividends as he was able to make early gains and edge closer to the top ten.
Räikkönen feels he is in contention for points during Sunday’s full-length British Grand Prix thanks to his performance on Saturday, but he knows the race will be long and it will be important to again stay out of trouble.
“We are better off now than we were yesterday, so I’ll take it: I’ll be in my best grid position of the year and I have to be happy about it,” said Räikkönen.
“We started on the soft, but I don’t know how much there really is in between the two tyres: in the end, it was important to get the launch right and stay out of trouble and we managed to do it, gaining some places.
“It’s still going to be a long race tomorrow: we will try to keep improving and bring home some points.”
“It was quite an intense race, pushing from lap one to the flag” – Antonio Giovinazzi
Team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi had a rare off-day on Saturday, with the Italian, renowned for making good starts and gaining positions, losing places at lights out.
The Italian started fourteenth but dropped to sixteenth on the opening lap, and despite gaining one position thanks to the spin from Sergio Pérez, he was unable to make any on-track passes so was restricted to a fifteenth-place finish.
Giovinazzi says it was an intense race from start-to-finish, but it was impossible to pass due with everyone running at similar pace, leaving him with a lot of work to do on Sunday to score points.
“It was quite an intense race, pushing from lap one to the flag, but in the end there wasn’t a lot of action after the start,” said Giovinazzi. “Unfortunately, my launch wasn’t great and I lost some places: then we had a decent pace but very similar to the ones in front of us, and that made overtaking impossible.
“In the end we only lost one place, so we are still in a good position for tomorrow. Hopefully we can have a better start and, with the strategy and a longer race, we can move up a few places.”