Raikkonen hails ‘first positive day of the year’ as he qualifies P14 – but says Q3 was possible
Coming into the Spanish Grand Prix, Kimi Raikkonen had been knocked out in the opening segment of qualifying in each of the five races of 2020 so far, twice lining his Alfa Romeo up last on the grid. But in Barcelona on Saturday, at a track where he has won twice, things looked much better for the Finn as he progressed through to Q2 for the first time – and afterwards the 2007 world champ was even cursing his luck that he didn’t make Q3…
Fresh from a P20 grid slot and P15 finish in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, Raikkonen qualified a solid 14th at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, on a day when Antonio Giovinazzi finished last with a time over a second slower than his experienced team mate.
QUALIFYING REPORT: Hamilton beats Bottas to pole in sweltering Spanish GP qualifying as Verstappen takes P3
But the frustrating note for Raikkonen was that he believes he’d have qualified even better had he had fresh soft tyres available in Q2, with the Finn forced to use mediums for his best effort.
“The soft's the faster tyre, but we didn’t have any new softs anymore, which is a shame because today when we were going well I think with new softs we really had a good chance to go through to the last part of qualifying,” explained Raikkonen.
“On the one hand it’s been the first positive day of the year, it’s good where we are. On the other hand, now we have a bit of speed we didn’t have the set of tyres that maybe we could have gone even more further.”
READ MORE: ‘The job’s not done’ says polesitter Hamilton as he fears Red Bull pace at ‘physical’ Barcelona
With Pirelli saying soft tyres could give as much as 0.7s of performance over the mediums, and Raikkonen missing Q3 by just over two tenths of a second, you can understand the Finn’s frustrations...
Still, with Alfa Romeo’s form having been in freefall, Raikkonen was keen to see the positives.
“Things worked well today since the morning,” he said, “so hopefully this is the direction we can keep up.”
Raikkonen hasn’t taken a points finish since coming fourth in Brazil last year, while Alfa Romeo have only taken two points all year.