Raikkonen laments late spin and shrugs off clash with Alonso as he misses out on point in Austin
Kimi Raikkonen was set to finish in the top 10 in the United States to pick up the final point on offer, before a late spin dropped him down to an unlucky 13th, after he had earlier come out on top in a scrappy duel with Fernando Alonso in Austin.
Raikkonen started 15th in Texas but made up three places at the start, and on Lap 16 – after pitting – he battled with Alpine driver Alonso at Turn 1. The Spaniard did everything to force his Finnish rival wide, even making contact with the Alfa Romeo, but Raikkonen put up a determined fight and took the place (see the clip below).
He seemed destined for a top-10 finish but with five laps remaining Raikkonen spun at Turn 6, going into the gravel as he left the esses.
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“I think the first part [of the race] felt pretty nice, the car, and then there was small contact with, I think it was the Renault or the Alpine, with Alonso – we lost part of the floor on the side – but it wasn’t bad,” he recalled. “It just felt that we ran out of the tyres much faster than on the first stint. But yes, we tried, and in the end I had not really much rears left.”
Asked if he was at least imbued with confidence by Alfa Romeo’s pace, Raikkonen replied: “Yes, but we didn’t get anything out of it, so, you know, we were there-or-thereabouts as in most of the races we’ve been. Not really massively different than any other race.”
Raikkonen also gained a place after the Alonso duel as Alfa Romeo swapped him and team mate Antonio Giovinazzi on Lap 25, leaving the Italian to take on the two-time world champion later on.
Giovinazzi relished that scrap, as he later said: “It was a good race, with some nice fights along the way, in particular with Fernando. I tried to hold him back as much as I could but, in the end, he was just faster.
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“Still, it is nice to be fighting with someone like him, a world champion. We went once again very close to the points, and probably the second stint is where we missed out as we couldn’t get those tyres to work well. We did a good work as a team, swapping places when Kimi when he could push more in that part of the race, and that very nearly paid off.”
Giovinazzi finished 11th, behind Sebastian Vettel, while Raikkonen was two places behind at the end. The veteran bows out of F1 at the end of the season, his last F1 Grand Prix win having come at COTA in 2018.