Ice, Ice, Baby
2020 FIA Formula One Russian Grand Prix – Practice – Friday
Weather: FP1: sunny, 26.9-27.8°C air, 23.9-36.2°C track; FP2: sunny, 28.3-27.5°C air, 37.9-33.2°C track
The temperatures keeping us warm here in Sochi – consistently north of 25 degrees and bordering on the 30 for most of today – wouldn’t really point to this place being a winter sports paradise: and yet, there are plenty of indications in the local toponyms to suggest this is indeed a venue where people’s attire of choice would include beanies and mitts.
The Sochi Autodrom circuit makes its way past arenas with names such as the Iceberg Skating Palace and the Ice Cube Curling Centre before sliding (see what we did there?) by the Bolshoy Ice Dome. The Shayba Arena, formerly known as the Maly Ice Palace, is just across the road.
Among all these frost-themed buildings, it was Kimi and Antonio who kept their cool during two sessions that caught out many of their rivals: despite the interruptions and the disruption to our programme, it was a productive Friday for the team, with the indications from the first day of on-track action pointing to a mildly optimistic outlook for tomorrow.
Qualifying, as always, will be a tight affair: despite the length of the lap, gaps remain small and a corner aced, or an apex slip-up, can make a big difference. Placing both cars in Q2 remains our target: among Sochi’s ice buildings, achieving this objective wouldn’t leave us cold…
Kimi Räikkönen (car number 7):
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C39 (Chassis 05/Ferrari)
1st practice: 15th / 1:37.230 (23 laps) / 2nd practice: 14th / 1:35.516 (33 laps)
“Our programme was not very different from what we would do on any other Friday, although the interruptions in the sessions made everything a bit trickier. The car felt ok straight out of the box this morning, but of course there’s always a margin for improvement. It looks like it’s going to be very close once more in the midfield so even a small gain can bring a step forward. Of course, we want to be as high as we can be tomorrow, so let’s do our best and see where we end up on the grid.”
Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C39 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
1st practice: 14th / 1:37.201 (17 laps) / 2nd practice: 19th / 1:36.053 (36 laps)
“It wasn’t the most straightforward of days for me, especially in FP1 where I didn’t get to make any actual flying laps between the red and yellow flags. I managed to recover a little in FP2 and in the end we managed to try quite a few things for tomorrow: my qualifying laps were not very representative and I feel there’s more we can get out of the car. In qualifying, as well as the race, the heat could play a big role but, in the end, it will be a similar situation for everyone: all we have to do is to give our best and put everything together when it matters.”