The Turkish Grand Prix did not disappoint expectations, with a series of variables, included the change of Power Units by many teams and the weather conditions, that added spice to this Sunday.
Alfa Romeo finished the GP, once again, in eleventh (and twelfth) position, after a day of qualifying in which the team seemed competitive, but which, following various situations, was unable to qualify for Q2.
Kimi Raikkonen's race pace was very good, better than that of his teammate Antonio Giovinazzi, so much so that a few laps from the end of the race, the team asked the two drivers to switch positions; that however did not happen and the Finn was denied the opportunity to reach Ocon and fight for the final point.
Xevi Pujolar, Head of Trackside Engineering at Alfa Romeo, during a media session with MotorLat and other selected media, talked about it when asked by MotorLat:
“We asked them to swap their positions, but then at some point Antonio [Giovinazzi] also started to become faster, so he decided that he wanted to stay ahead.
“Maybe that situation also showed that potentially we grew up, and became faster as a team, and at that point we needed one more lap to catch up Ocon, that’s how it went,” he said.
Raikkonen seemed quicker than Giovinazzi for most of the race, so when he was asked if was it disappointing for the team that the driver didn’t obey a team order, he answered:
“For sure for the team what he did was not ideal, for us it is important to achieve the points. At the beginning of the race we didn’t focus that much on who was stronger, more or less both cars were there.
“We were doing some management, we also didn’t know how long conditions would remain that way, so we didn’t want to put too much stress on that [swapping positions], and letting Kimi push too hard and ruin his tyres too quickly,” - he stated - “We wanted to have a bit of space, because of those conditions, and at the end of the race was a different story.
“At that point yes, we needed to swap positions.
Today was very hard for everyone to find the balance to keep the tyres quick, but alive, many made mistakes with their strategies, ruining some good races.
“In the middle of the race it was quite tricky, because in the first 15-20 laps the biggest concern, as I said, was how long conditions would remain that way,” - he explained - “We did not know if at some point we would be ready for slick tyres or if we had to go with the inters.
"In that case if the track was too dry we would’ve struggled too much, with graining and stuff like this, so we were trying to see how long we could’ve remained with that set of intermediates.
“We did a lot of preparation for this race and for us it was clear that we couldn't have done the whole race with just one set because of safety concerns, but we were trying to grasp the maximum out of it, just in case a Safety car had happened or the track had dried out,” Pujolar concluded.