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Alfa have made improvements, says Raikkonen as team seek to reverse fortunes in France

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He scored points in the first four races of the season, but Kimi Raikkonen has not figured in the top ten in the three Grands Prix since. However, there could be light at the end of the tunnel for the Iceman, with the Finn clocking the ninth quickest time in an upgraded Alfa Romeo during FP2 in France.

Raikkonen suffered the indignity of being knocked out of qualifying at the Q1 stage for the first time in 80 races last time out in Canada, as Alfa’s performance continued to trend downwards.

But speaking after trialling a number of new parts on his C38 during Friday practice at Paul Ricard, Raikkonen was relatively buoyant.

Generally I think it was one of the better days...

Kimi Raikkonen

“Generally I think it was one of the better days,” said Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion. “For sure we made some improvements.

“We’ll see what the lap times tell us, but they don’t usually tell a lot on Fridays. We’ll have to see where we end up tomorrow.”

Raikkonen’s team mate Antonio Giovinazzi, who unlike the Finn is yet to score any points this season, was also cautiously optimistic about Alfa’s form, finishing FP2 in 11th place.

“We can be pleased with our first day on track and with finishing close to the top 10. The midfield is still really tight, so we will need to work a lot tonight and find the last bits of performance, but it was a positive start,” said the Italian.

“Tomorrow is another day so we need to focus, work hard and try to have the best car possible for qualifying. Q3 remains our target.”

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