Italian Grand Prix – Alfa Romeo left Monza empty handed, having been in P2 in the early stages of the restarted race with Kimi Raikkonen.
Alfa Romeo proved the star performers for Ferrari power on Sunday, with Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi climbing as high as P4 & P5 by the time the race was suspended due to Charles Leclerc’s crash.
However, the race unravelled from there. Antonio Giovinazzi was given a ten second stop & go penalty for the restart, having made his pitstop after the pitlane was closed to cover Kevin Magnussen’s broken down Haas. This took him out of contention completely.
Kimi Raikkonen had pitted for the Hard tyre on Lap 18, but the team feared he would lose lots of positions for the restart by being on that tyre. Instead, they swapped him to the only other fresh tyre they had left: a set of Softs. Raikkonen made good initial headway to jump up to P2 and tackle Pierre Gasly for the lead, but his tyres fell away and he was picked off one by one by the cars behind on the Medium and Hard tyres. Raikkonen finished in P13.
“It was a very disappointing result in the end but there was nothing we could really do.” said Raikkonen. “We only had soft tyres left at the red flag, after using mediums at the start, which effectively put us in a very difficult position. The soft tyres were good to fight and defend in the first few laps after the restart, but when they faded away we were left exposed. Until the red flag we were in a good position: the car felt good and things had turned pretty positively for us, but after that we really couldn’t fight.”
Had Raikkonen stuck with the Hard tyres he had on at the time of the red flag, he would have run an almost identical strategy to Carlos Sainz, but Alfa team boss Frederic Vasseur said they chose to chase track position at the start of the stint: “It was a very bizarre race, one that has given us the full spectrum of emotions. We made a good start and our race pace was good in the first stint. The Safety car shuffled the pack and we found ourselves towards the front of the field, but unfortunately we picked up a penalty for Antonio at his pit stop, which compromised his race.”
“Under the red flag we had to choose between the only tyres we had left available, the used hard tyres we had on or new softs, as we had no more mediums left. We went for the softs: they helped us at the restart, with Kimi running up to P2, but unfortunately our rivals’ tyre advantage in the long run meant we ended up losing ground as the race progressed. We were close to a good result but it is what it is: we made progress both in terms of qualifying and race pace and we need to keep pushing to improve.”