Kimi Raikkonen suggests points are a realistic possibility for Alfa Romeo heading into this weekend’s Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
The 2007 world champion is conscious that a tight midfield offers opportunities for small improvements to make big gains on his rivals.
Alfa Romeo showed improved pace during the Bahrain Grand Prix when viewed against its 2020 fortunes.
Raikkonen finished 11th, with Antonio Giovinazzi just one spot back in 12th, a result which on balance was an improvement on the previous campaign.
F1’s eldest statesman suggests there is more to come, if the team is able to string the weekend together.
“We are confident we can be in the middle of the fight for points in Imola as well, but we are under no illusions it is going to be easy,” Raikkonen said.
“We saw in Bahrain that even a good weekend doesn’t mean a top 10 finish, so we know we have to keep pushing to improve everything we do from Thursday to Sunday: the difference between finishing just behind the top teams and outside of the top 10 will be very small.
“Hopefully we can do our homework, have a good weekend and we get to be in that first group: we know what is in our control and what isn’t, so we just have to make sure we perform as we know we can.”
Raikkonen’s optimism is matched by team boss Frederic Vasseur.
“We have made a considerable step forward in performance, possibly one of the biggest across the field, and we are now in the midfield fight, but the top 10 is where you have to finish to bring home the points so that has to be our objective for Imola,” he reasoned.
“Last year, we had our best result of the season here and we can take that as an encouragement, although we know the form we showed in 2020 is only a vague indicator of what we can expect this time around.
“We have seen how difficult it is to overtake around this circuit, so our Saturday performance will be crucial to make sure we get to the race in the best possible position to bring home points.”