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What are they doing, wondered Raikkonen

NEWS STORY
26/10/2020

Over the years Kimi Raikkonen has made it abundantly clear that he knows what he's doing, but on the opening laps of Sunday's Portuguese Grand Prix the Finnish veteran wondered if his rivals knew what they were doing.

On a day that Lewis rightly dominated the headlines, Kimi Raikkonen's stunning opening lap should not be forgotten.

Starting from 16th on softs, by the end of the opening lap the Alfa Romeo driver was up to 6th, having passed the likes of Stroll, Gasly, Vettel, Albon and Ricciardo, indeed the 2007 world champion was in the midst of the scrap between Leclerc and Verstappen for fifth until the inevitable slide back down the field as the C39 was unable to match the Iceman's ambitions.

Though he was a feature of the top ten for much of the race, passed in the closing laps by former teammate Vettel, the Finn finished in what Alfa Romeo rightly described as the cruellest of positons, eleventh.

At race end, the laconic Finn was unmoved by the excitement over his opening lap, admitting that he was puzzled by the antics of his rivals.

"I don't think the start itself was very good, I lost a place," he told reporters, "but then after that honestly I thought at one point ‘what are the others doing?.

"I had a good first and then second lap, the speed was decent in the car most of the race, then we had a little bit of difficulties in the pit stop and in the end I lost tenth place to Vettel with old tyres.

"We got nothing out of it, so that's a shame," he sighed. "We need more speed then everything will become a little bit easier."

"Finishing just outside the points is obviously frustrating," admitted team boss, Frederic Vasseur, "especially after running pretty much all the race in the top ten.

"We took the decision to split the two cars' strategies to maximise our chances in the race and it nearly paid off.

"Kimi had an incredible first couple of laps and to see him overtake a Ferrari and fight with the Red Bulls is obviously a sign of the progress we have made since the start of the season.

"Unfortunately, our best efforts weren't enough to bring a point home but we can be confident about the final races of the season: if we continue on this path, and keep improving and optimising our package, we can consistently be in the fight for top ten finishes."

If nothing else, Sunday was clear proof that Kimi still has fire in his belly, unlike some we could mention.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Portimao, here.

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