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Alfa boss had 'fingers crossed' over Raikkonen's car

Alfa boss had 'fingers crossed' over Raikkonen's car
By AutoSport

15/04/2019 at 18:15Updated 15/04/2019 at 18:18

Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team boss Frederic Vasseur admits he had his fingers crossed during the Chinese Grand Prix due to concerns over Ferrari engine reliability on Kimi Raikkonen's car.

Unlike fellow Ferrari customer Haas, Alfa had chosen not to take the new specifications of control electronics offered after the problem suffered by Charles Leclerc during the Bahrain GP - instead opting to stick with the first version because it felt it lacked time to sort the installation.

On Saturday Antonio Giovinazzi's qualifying session was ruined by a recurrence of the issue that cost Leclerc victory at Sakhir. Giovinazzi was given a fresh example of the old spec electronics for the race.

Raikkonen stuck with his original unit, leading to concerns that he too would have problems.

In the event the Finn enjoyed a successful charge from 13th on the grid to ninth, logging points for the third race in a row.

"I had my fingers crossed on the pitwall," Vasseur told Autosport. "It was not easy to push on the buttons!

"Overall it was a good Sunday for us, we had a good recovery compared to [qualifying].

"It's important for us to score points every race and be consistent.

"We know perfectly well that if we want to stay on the top of the rest - I don't care if it's P4 or P5 - we have to be consistent over all the races, and be able to score points in every single event."

Vasseur added that Raikkonen, who was frustrated to lose some performance in the closing stages while chasing the cars ahead, continues to impress Alfa.

"He's scoring points, even when he's starting 13th. He was a bit upset not to be able to catch [Daniel] Ricciardo and [Sergio] Perez at the end, which is a good sign," said Vasseur.

"The pace was there, and I think we were even able to catch Ricciardo and Perez, but we had some small damage 10 laps before the end on the front.

"We also lost temperature in the front tyres, mainly due to the fact that we lost downforce."