Australian Grand Prix – Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen says he’s keeping his feet on the ground about finishing well within the top ten during Friday’s free practice.
The Finn has stepped down from Ferrari after five years of a second career with the Scuderia, joining the Sauber team late last season. Now rebranded as Alfa Romeo and aligning itself as a sort of ‘B-Team’ for Ferrari under the wider Exor umbrella, Raikkonen would have joined the team under no illusion that he is no longer realistically fighting for podiums or race victories.
However, strong points finishes are still extremely likely and, after seemingly losing their way a little bit during the second week of pre-season testing in Spain, Alfa has shown up in Australia with a seemingly agile and quick racecar. Raikkonen finished the day P6 overall in FP2, just a tenth behind former teammate Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari, with both setting their best times on the Soft tyre. This was despite an off-track moment while pushing hard, running wide across the grass at Turns 1/2.
Raikkonen’s 1:23.5 was just under a second off the pace-setting time set by Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes.
“We have a solid day of work behind us, there were no big issues.” said Raikkonen, who remained his usual nonplussed self while speaking to media. “We still have some set-up work to do to improve the car, but overall it felt quite good. I look forward to qualifying tomorrow, behind the top teams anything is possible.”
Asked about whether he felt excited as a result of the car’s strong pace on Friday, Raikkonen shook his head and drily said: “I don’t get excited.”