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Damage limitation at Alfa Romeo: two penalties, one championship point

Damage limitation at Alfa Romeo
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E Actually things looked good for Alfa Romeo after the qualifying result. Both drivers qualified for the top ten. But they didn't start there. Antonio Giovinazzi knew this before he took his flight to Baku. The Italian had to go back 10 starting places because of the change to the third control unit. After the damage to Charles Leclerc's Ferrari in Bahrain, Ferrari was forced to use the 2018 electronics boxes. By then, Giovinazzi had his second 2019 unit in the car.

Kimi Räikkönen thought until Sunday morning that he would start in eighth place in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The Finn would have been even further ahead if he hadn't run into Lewis Hamilton in his Q3 attempt, who surprisingly slowed down in the preparatory lap to gain some distance from Valtteri Bottas. With that, Raikkonen had already run the lap in Turn 1.

It got even worse. During a front wing check on Sunday morning, the FIA ​​inspectors found that the upper flap of the wing bent 5.5 millimeters under a load of 60 kilograms. Half a millimeter more than allowed.

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The Kimi wing in the Race did not meet qualifying specifications. So the iceman had to start out of the pit lane.

Wear on the Kimi grand piano

Team manager Beat Zehnder explains that Deviation like this: “These are signs of wear and tear. The wing has been driven a few races. The identical model by Giovinazzi was easily tolerable. '

Kimi Räikkönen had a similar suspicion:' It was probably a consequence of the problem I had with the front wing in the last few laps in China. A stabilizer broke and we immediately lost downforce. We had no timeto produce new parts. That certainly didn't make the car faster, on the contrary. ”

Since Alfa Romeo had to replace the adjustment mechanism of the front wing, the car with the number 7 no longer met the same specification as in the qualification. That meant the start from the pit lane.

It only took two laps, by then Raikkonen had already left the Williams behind and caught up with Romain Grosjean at the bottom. The team pitted him on the sixth lap. 'Everyone drove in a queue and we were so slow that it was better to come to the pits early and make up places with an undercut.'

That was how the Iceman was able to get on the critical soft tires do not have the same bad experiences as his colleagues. “I only drove very little on the soft tires. The rear tires have started to grain. But the mediums were no picnic either. I struggled the whole race to get them up to temperature. ”

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Despite the starting handicap, the Iceman still made it into the points.

Competition clears the way for Kimi

The early pit stop was worth gold for Alfa Romeo. After all soft starters had finished their tire changes, Raikkonen had moved up to 13th place. I couldn't go any further on my own. The Ricciardo /Kvyat group was six seconds short. To Raikkonen's luck, she got herself out of the way. And when Pierre Gasly parked his Red Bull, the way was clear to the 13th World Championship point this season.

Team principal Frédéric Vasseur spoke of damage limitation. Raikkonen also saw the maximum achieved from his starting position: “One point was the best we could hope for. Barcelona should be easier for us. 'Team-mate Giovinazzi was annoyed:' We were hoping for the usual safety car, but it didn't come. So we just got stuck in traffic. ”

In conclusion, Formula 1 veteran Räikkönen also sounds critical. “So far it has been going well. We scored points in every race. In none of the four races did we get the most out of our weekend and the package. We still have to fine-tune each area. ”InAs with any team, Barcelona is waiting for an aerodynamics package. Alfa Romeo has to find more downforce for this type of track.

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