Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN got back to action in Spielberg for the second weekend of consecutive racing at the Red Bull Ring. Practice for the Austrian Grand Prix was a straightforward affair, with no major issues to hamper the team's test programme and good mileage in both sessions. In FP1, reserve driver Callum Ilott returned to the cockpit in lieu of Antonio Giovinazzi for his second second practice session of the year.
After last weekend's racing in the Styrian Grand Prix, the team had a solid base to build on and further optimise the two C41s. Still, with different weather conditions and tyre compounds one step softer than in our last outing, there was still plenty to learn: maximising track time in both sessions was therefore crucial to start this weekend in a positive manner.
With the threat of rain not materialising, save for a few spits of rain in the afternoon, that was mission accomplished from the point of view of collecting data. As always, Friday night will be a time to crunch the data and make sure today's learnings are put to good use for Saturday and Sunday - making sure we go one better than last time out when the result really matters on Sunday...
Kimi Raikkonen: "It was a fairly regular Friday. Of course, everyone knows the track really well after last week so we won't find out until tomorrow where everyone really is. I am quite confident, but we know the margins are so small that anything can happen. In the end, we will need to find something tonight because we know everyone else will and we have to make a bigger step ahead than the others. We just focus on ourselves and on doing our best and we'll see what tomorrow brings."
Antonio Giovinazzi: "It was quite a smooth FP2 for me, we finished the full programme we set out to do including some laps on the prototype tyres and some high-fuel runs. In general, it was a positive session. The midfield seems very close, as always, so we will need to keep working hard to find that little extra performance to be at the edge, especially on Saturday. We still have one session before qualifying to refine our package and then we'll give our maximum in qualifying."
Callum Ilott: "I really enjoyed the session today: I feel I made a good progression and we were able to try and learn a good amount of things. Jumping in the car when everyone else had a full week of running here is never easy, but I still feel it was a very positive session. We were able to address directly some of the key aspects the team wanted to check from last weekend and in the end we were able to do a run on soft tyres, which was fun. I felt more familiar with the car and with how everything works: I'm getting used to it and this allows me to work better, so I am satisfied with my day."
Check out our Friday gallery from Spielberg, here.