Alfa Romeo relieved not to lose ground to championship rivals after disappointing race day in Turkey
Changeable conditions usually provide opportunities for the teams towards the bottom of the constructors’ championship but none could take them in Turkey, providing a silver lining for Alfa Romeo who started race day with high hopes.
Saturday’s qualifying session saw Alfa Romeo excel, with Kimi Raikkonen securing eighth on the grid and Antonio Giovinazzi tenth as both cars made it through to Q3 for the first time this season. Any early optimism soon faded away in the race though, as Giovinazzi retired and Raikkonen struggled to a 15th-place finish.
“For sure it was far from fun but that’s how it was,” Raikkonen said. “I think it was more or less what we expected. Unfortunately we don’t have the speed, most of the time we struggled to make the tyres work and then they work for ten laps and then they are finished.
“Honestly that’s more or less what we expected. I think if it had been completely full wet then it would have been better for us but luckily the guys that we are racing against didn’t score any points so it’s OK.”
It could have been even worse though as Giovinazzi nearly didn’t make the start at all, crashing at Turn 2 on his way to the grid and having to wait for a number of minutes until the track was clear so a crane could recover him from the gravel.
“Unfortunately on the laps to the grid I lost the car and I was like a passenger,” Giovinazzi said. “As soon as I went back on throttle I just lost the rear. We were lucky that I only damaged the front wing so it was good enough to take the start of the race, but then during the race we had a gearbox issue.”
As frustrating as Alfa Romeo’s race was, the fact that Haas and Williams both failed to score provided some solace for team principal Frederic Vasseur as the end of the season draws nearer.
“We weren’t able to capitalise on the very strong performance we delivered in qualifying, when we were among the fastest on track,” Vasseur said. “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 15th, 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.”