Alfa Romeo Racing boss Frédéric Vasseur says his team was left “proud and happy” by its double top-5 finish in Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix and the huge bag of points it delivered.
Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi finished respectively fourth and fifth at Interlagos, a season best for the Swiss squad and its first top-5 since Belgium in 2009, or 1951 depending on whether one relates the performance to Sauber or Alfa Romeo history.
While F1’s midfield obviously benefitted from a succession of incidents that impacted several front-runners, Vasseur insisted there had been no “defining factor” behind his team’s feat.
“We can be really happy and proud with this result,” Vasseur said.
“To bring two cars in the points just outside the podium is the reward for the hard work of everyone in the team.
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“We didn’t let our head drop in the races where we were unlucky and now we can celebrate our best result of the season.
“There was no defining factor today: everyone did a great job – in the cockpit, in the pitstops, on the pitwall and back at base.
“We have made a lot of progress in the last few races, but it wasn’t until today that it showed.”
Raikkonen – F1’s senior citizen – was relieved to finally put points on the board after seven consecutive fruitless races.
“It’s great to finally be able to celebrate our best result of the season as a team.” said the Finn.
“We kept on our own most of the race, but at the end we were in the middle of the action.
“I am disappointed we couldn’t get past Sainz for what turned out to be the final podium position: we had the speed, got a good run on him twice but couldn’t get past.
“But you always want something more: in the end, it’s good to get big points with both cars.”
An ecstatic Giovinazzi felt his result was the perfect follow up to his recent contract extension with Alfa Romeo.
“I am really, really happy today, for both myself and the team,” said the young Italian.
“What a great race, it was a fantastic way to celebrate my contract for next year with two cars in the points.
“We had a great start, the best this year – we made up three places and went straight into the top ten, but we still had a lot of work to do.
“The strategy was great, the restarts were very important, especially the final one when I was under pressure from Daniel [Ricciardo].
“The last ten laps were crazy, it was quite intense but we managed to stay ahead. Everyone in the team did a wonderful job and we can be really happy with our work.
“We are improving race after race and we can now focus on Abu Dhabi and on finishing the season in the right way.”
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