Raikkonen says it was like 'driving on ice' after finishing 15th in Sakhir GP
Sergio Perez wasn’t the only driver to spin on the opening lap of the Sakhir Grand Prix, but unfortunately for Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen, his comeback was less dramatic.
While Perez went from last to first after being hit by Charles Leclerc, Raikkonen had a spin all on his own after running wide out of Turn 2 trying to avoid squabbling cars ahead. He continued without damage but was unable to make significant progress through the field and although the race pace was strong, he was left bemoaning a familiar issue for Alfa Romeo.
“I had a good start and then going on the outside I had to go on the kerb a bit and just suddenly lost the rear and lost a few places,” Raikkonen said. “But honestly it made no difference to the end result, we just had no speed. It’s always good for some laps with the newer tyres but then it just falls off and it’s like driving on ice in some places.”
Pushed on where the pace went, Raikkonen said: “I don’t know, it wasn’t there last weekend and it’s not here this weekend, so I have no idea.”
Raikkonen appeared to struggle throughout the weekend in comparison to team mate Antonio Giovinazzi, with the Italian 0.4s faster in Q1 as he advanced to the second part of qualifying, while Raikkonen dropped out in 19th place. In the race, despite fitting a new set of soft tyres during a late Safety Car period, the Finn was half a second slower when it came to fastest laps as the pair finished 13th and 14th.
Even though there were glimpses of pace from Giovinazzi, Team Principal Frederic Vasseur says the chaotic race didn’t really offer Alfa Romeo any significant opportunities based on their performance level on the straights.
“We kept our cool in a race where many others made mistakes, but in the end that was not enough to bring home some points,” Vasseur said. “Besides Kimi’s spin on the opening lap, neither drivers nor team did much wrong and to bring home the cars in P13 and P14, behind a Ferrari, is probably as much as we could achieve.
“Antonio had good pace throughout the race, but on this track it was quite difficult to overtake and he couldn’t really express it to the fullest. We can still find something more and hopefully finish the season strongly in Abu Dhabi next week, so that we can carry this momentum into the winter break.”