The Alfa Romeo drivers have their sights set on making Q3 at the French Grand Prix after an encouraging first day at Paul Ricard.
Throughout 2020, the Italian team were one of the backmarkers of the grid and just getting out of Q1 on a race weekend was considered a success.
In 2021 though, they’ve looked much stronger, being closer to the midfield than to Haas more often than not and finishing in the top 10 in two of the first six races.
They’ve yet to do so on a Saturday, but after a decent Friday at Paul Ricard in which they got both cars into the top 13 in both sessions, the aim is to change that.
In fact, Kimi Raikkonen, who finished P9 in FP2, thinks that he could have done even better.
“It wasn’t too bad out there,” he said.
“I even feel I could have been a few places higher with a better lap. The hope, of course, is that we can be somewhere around this region, in the top ten, when we get into qualifying.
“As always, we can try to find something more tonight, with the engineers, and squeeze some more performance out of the car, but it’s not a bad start.”
All day in or around the top 10 👌🏻
RAI ➡️ P9
GIO ➡️ P11 #FrenchGP pic.twitter.com/FQ31YueIcj
— Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN (@alfaromeoracing) June 18, 2021
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The Finn’s team-mate, Antonio Giovinazzi, couldn’t quite break into the top 10 himself but didn’t have a bad day by any means, finishing the sessions in P12 and P11.
Like Raikkonen, the Italian wasn’t fully happy with how things went either, which makes him optimistic about his chances of getting into the top-10 shootout on Saturday.
“It was a good start to our weekend and we’re confident ahead of qualifying,” he said.
“The conditions out there were not easy, with a lot of wind and low grip, but this is what we can expect for tomorrow as well.
“To be just outside the top then when I am still not 100% happy with the car means we can be in the fight for Q3 if we find some improvement tonight. This is our task and if we do a better job at it than our rivals, we can have a good Saturday.”
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