Kimi Räikkönen ended Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN’s points drought in Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix, with the veteran Finn claiming eighth place after choosing the right time to change to the intermediate tyres.
Räikkönen, who missed the Dutch and Italian Grand Prix weekends after a positive COVID-19 test, ran inside the top ten in the early laps but appeared to be heading for another pointless day at the Sochi Autodrom, only for the rain to come late in the day to jumble up the order.
The 2007 Formula 1 World Champion fought hard all day, staying in touch with those inside the points, and he was rewarded for his persistence with an eighth-place finish, although he lost seventh on the final lap to the recovering Lando Norris. It was only the fourth time in 2021 that Alfa Romeo have scored points.
“It was a good result we fought hard for,” said Räikkönen. “We could keep up with our rivals in the dry but passing them was not easy, especially in the DRS trains.
“In the end, we made the right call on the tyres: I thought it was getting too wet and we chose to box, which really helped us in the end. We did the best we could and we have some points to show for it.”
“I was without radio from the first lap” – Antonio Giovinazzi
Team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi had a difficult day in Sochi, which wasn’t helped by the fact his radio was not working at any point after the start. This made communication between pit wall and driver extremely difficult, and between driver and pit wall near impossible.
Giovinazzi revealed that he was hit at turn two on the opening lap, which cost him a handful of places, but the biggest issue for the Italian was the lack of the radio, which made it impossible for him to talk to the pits when the rain struck with six laps remaining.
“It was an eventful race with lots going on,” said Giovinazzi. “I was hit in turn two and I lost a few places there: in addition, I was without radio from the first lap, so it was impossible to communicate with the team.
“It has been a difficult afternoon, especially when the rain started at the end of the race and I couldn’t talk to the pits about the tyre change. I’m pleased for the team’s result, but I’m already looking forward to Turkey.”