Raikkonen puts Covid in the past to focus on Sochi

Kimi Raikkonen will rejoin the grid this weekend in Sochi, having been deemed fit to race after testing... The post Raikkonen puts Covid in the past to focus on Sochi appeared first on F1i.com.

Raikkonen puts Covid in the past to focus on Sochi

Kimi Raikkonen will rejoin the grid this weekend in Sochi, having been deemed fit to race after testing positive for Covid earlier this month.

The Alfa Romeo driver was sidelined ahead of Saturday's running at the Dutch Grand Prix based on his mandatory Covid test from Friday.

Raikkonen then flew back home to isolate, with Alfa reserve Robert Kubica subbing for the Iceman on the spot at Zandvoort and then again at Monza.

But the future F1 retiree is now fit and well and ready to return to the fray for his 343rd career start in F1.

"I’m pleased to be back in the car after missing two rounds," he said ahead of this weekend's Russian Grand Prix.

"Obviously nobody wants to test positive, but it happened, and we had to follow the rules. But that is all in the past and now my focus is on Sochi.

"The team has shown some potential in the last few races, now we need to convert that into a good result. I don’t think being back will feel any different, I just want to get on with my job and hopefully have a good race."

Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi enjoyed a top ten performance in Monza's sprint event which, after factoring in several grid demotions, put the Italian P7 on the grid on race day.

However, a mistake on the opening lap sent Giovinazzi down the order. But the 27-year-old who is fighting to save his driver with Alfa is hoping for a better result in Sochi.

  • Read also: Bottas looking forward to 'interesting new era' with Alfa Romeo

"This weekend offers us another chance to achieve the good result we have been close to in the last few races," said Giovinazzi.

"I am excited to be back in the car, both Zandvoort and Monza showed how much pace we had and how we could fight towards the front of the grid.

"Unfortunately, both times things didn’t go as planned, but we can build on those positives and bring home some points in Sochi. We will give everything we have."

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Alonso: Only 'chaotic race' will put us on the podium

Fernando Alonso believes that only a "chaotic" race or the elements will allow the Alpine team to snatch... The post Alonso: Only 'chaotic race' will put us on the podium appeared first on F1i.com.

Alonso: Only 'chaotic race' will put us on the podium

Fernando Alonso believes that only a "chaotic" race or the elements will allow the Alpine team to snatch a podium in Sochi this weekend.

Despite Esteban Ocon's shock win in Hungary, due in large part to favourable circumstances, Alpine currently sits fifth in F1's Constructors' standings, or third among the sport's top midfield teams behind McLaren and Ferrari.

Alonso's best performance year-to-date with Alpine is a fourth-place finish, also achieved in Hungary. But on merit, the Spaniard reckons that a top-six or top-seven is the maximum he can currently hope for.

"I think we are the fifth or sixth-quickest team out there," said the two-time world champion ahead of the Russian Grand Prix.

"So, for us to get the podium, we really need a very chaotic race. Without that I think by good performance, top six top seven is the maximum position. We did achieve that in few races this year, I’m happy with the consistency.

"You need to be super lucky to get one podium. I was not so far. I don’t expect to be in the remaining races.

"If it comes, obviously we will welcome it, but I think we need to work on realistic expectations."

Formula 1 teams were greeted by inclement weather on Thursday in Sochi, and the forecast looks bleak for this weekend, with heavy rain showers predicted for Saturday that could extend into race day.

"I think that Monza was one of the worst [circuits] for us, that sort of layout and characteristics of our package," added Alonso.

"So, here it should be a step better, you never know because you need to feel comfortable with the car, the setup has to be in the window.

"Straight away on Friday, the weather looks a little bit unknown at the moment or even quite wet on Saturday so it will be important to have a clean Friday, because maybe that’s the only dry running you get.

"You never know but we have more confidence here to Monza for sure."

  • Read also: Alonso wouldn't go up against Verstappen at Red Bull

While adverse weather could throw a spanner in the works of the top teams and allow a team such as Alpine to produce another upset, Alonso recalled that visibility amid a heavy downpour is notoriously bad at Sochi.

"The visibility was bad," he said. "I think it’s a very flat track, You know there are no elevation changes here so the water stands quite a lot on track. I remember Turn 1 being quite difficult, which is not a corner normally, but it was a real corner in the wet.

"So for Sunday, fingers crossed that it’s not too wet or not raining too much because the visibility will be really bad and we don’t want to see anything like Spa for sure."

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