Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen began his 19th season in Formula 1 at the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 28. The 2007 world champion had a smooth outing in Bahrain, finishing the race in P11, one place ahead of his Alfa Romeo teammate Antonio Giovinazzi.
However, according to the Iceman, it wasn't an ideal start to the season. Raikkonen said that he was hoping for a bit more and was disappointed that the team missed out on some crucial championship points on the opening weekend.
Raikkonen remains positive for 2021
Despite missing out on points in Bahrain, Kimi Raikkonen is still optimistic for the rest of the season. Speaking to formula1.com, the Finn mentioned after the race that the car seems to be much better than last year's iteration:
“Obviously I was hoping for more. It was close but compared to last year, when we were too slow, it wasn’t too bad."
Alfa Romeo were pegged back last season due to limitations of the Ferrari power unit. The team struggled to get out of Q1 in most qualifying sessions during the 2020 season. With Ferrari overcoming their deficit for the 2021 season, it can only serve as good news for the team and Raikkonen. Alfa Romeo will aim to be within touching distance of the midfield.
Raikkonen pointed to tire management issues as the key to Alfa Romeo's lack of a points challenge in Bahrain. Kimi said that their pace was decent, but the team struggled with tire management compared to the midfield runners.
The Iceman said:
“Against some guys there was nothing I could do, the car was too slow. The car behaved nicely but to make the tyres last long enough we need to slow down more than the others. In the end we were not too far from the points, but still too far.”
Alfa Romeo and Kimi Raikkonen will hope for some points when Formula 1 returns to Imola in three weeks. The team showed decent pace during the pre-season test and Bahrain Grand Prix, but will look to improve their tire management in order to compete with the midfield on an equal footing.