Raikkonen out to deliver Alfa Romeo ‘nice birthday present’

Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi

Kimi Raikkonen has his sights set on giving Alfa Romeo reason to celebrate a milestone occasion this weekend in Austria.

Alfa Romeo celebrates its 111th birthday today (June 24), and will accordingly don a tribute on the livery of its C41 cars at the Styrian Grand Prix.

After scoring points in Monaco and Baku, the team had a disappointing French Grand Prix last weekend, Antonio Giovinazzi finishing 15th and Raikkonen 17th.

It’s now eyes forward with the mission of getting back to their points-scoring ways.

“Our focus is fully on Austria and not on what happened in France,” said 2007 world champion Raikkonen.

“We have learnt our lessons and we are now determined to do better.

“Austria is one of those tracks that look easy but are not: it’s short and there are only a few corners where time can be gained or lost, which means each of them is crucial for the lap time.

“Managing the traffic, both in qualifying and in the race, will also be a key factor but, in the end, that will be the same for everyone.

“I hope we get to score points on this weekend, it’d be a nice birthday present for Alfa Romeo.

“In the end, we need to do a better job than our rivals and then we will have the chance to score points.”

Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur echoed those sentiments.

“We had been on an upwards path [before France] and we’re aiming to bounce back immediately and get back to scoring ways, and to do so on a special weekend for Alfa Romeo would be even more important,” said Vasseur.

“On such a short track, the field will be even closer: every detail will matter and we will need to ensure we deliver our best in every aspect as this is what it will take to come away with a good result.”

For Giovinazzi, 14 years Raikkonen’s junior, the Red Bull Ring brings back good memories.

“I scored my first point there, in 2019, and in 2020 I brought home ninth place after a quite exciting race,” he said.

“I am keen to add to these moments and I am looking forward to racing there twice in two weeks.

“We have been doing better in most of the recent races and I can’t wait to get back in the fight for the top 10 on Sunday. Alfa Romeo’s 111th birthday is the extra bit of motivation we need to do well and we can’t wait to celebrate in style.”

Free Practice 1 for the Styrian Grand Prix begins 19:30 AEST tomorrow.

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