Chipping away at it
2020 FIA Formula One Belgian Grand Prix – Race – Sunday
Weather: cloudy, 17.9-18.4°C air, 30.3-27.4°C track
Progress, of sorts, isn’t always immediately visible. Sometimes it can be a sneaky kind of progression, under the radar. It often doesn’t deliver immediate results, but it’s there. Today felt a bit like that. P12 doesn’t bring any reward, no points to add to the tally, but the way in which it was obtained is a little bit of a positive.
There was pace in the cars, both Kimi and Antonio fighting with the Ferraris in the opening stages before an incident for the Italian brought out the Safety Car. There was plenty of fighting spirit in display, as Kimi passed Vettel after the restart and made it, on merit, into the top ten. There wasn’t a lot of luck, unfortunately, as the Finn seemed to be quicker than Kvyat in the wrong parts of the track, where making further progress wasn’t possible. Stuck behind the Russian, he was at the mercy of Sergio Perez and Pierre Gasly who, on fresher tyres, edged him into P12. We finished the race as the highest-ranked Ferrari-powered car, two places away from that all-important P10.
There are no points on offer for 12th, but we’re making progress. Progress isn’t always immediately visible, but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening. The important is to keep working at it.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG: “It was a race of two halves, unfortunately, but we showed some more competitiveness compared to previous rounds. Kimi lost some ground at the start but was able to make it back into 15th within a few laps, whereas Antonio had a really good launch and was putting pressure on Vettel’s Ferrari. His race ended at lap nine, but both drivers were able to keep their rivals honest with some decent pace. Kimi had a strong race and ran in the points after the pit stops: unfortunately, we seemed to be quicker on the twisty part of the track, where overtaking is not that easy, and he couldn’t make his way past Kvyat. In the end, P12 is the most we could have done today and, while points remain elusive, we can take a bit of encouragement from our performance.”
Kimi Räikkönen (car number 7):
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C39 (Chassis 05/Ferrari)
Race result: 12th
Fastest lap: 1:49.822
Tyres: New Medium (10 laps) – Used Hard (34 laps)
“I feel the result today is as good as it could have been. The car felt good but P12 is the most we could get, and that gives you no points: it’s disappointing as we really gave everything we had. The start was bad, the car went into antistall at turn one and it put me at the very back. After that we had good speed but sadly not enough to make it into the top ten. I got stuck behind Kvyat, I felt I was quicker than him in the middle sector but couldn’t get a run on him where I could try a pass. We’ll try to make more progress in Monza.”
Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C39 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
Race result: DNF
Fastest lap: 1:51.793
Tyres: New Medium (9 laps)
“A disappointing ending to my race: I was pushing a lot to keep within DRS range of Sebastian [Vettel] and the car just snapped on the exit. I was on the limit and when you’re there, sometimes mistakes can happen. I feel sorry for the team as they deserved a good result this weekend, and of course also for George [Russell] as his race was compromised as well, although I couldn’t do anything about that. There are still some positives I can take from this race: I had another really good start, I made up a few places and I was able to be in a fight with the Ferraris, so we can build on that. Next race up is my home race in Italy, I’ll need to reset and be in a better shape for next weekend.”