Six points – this is our haul as we leave Hungary behind us and, with it, the first part of our 2019 season.
Six points, courtesy of Kimi Räikkönen’s composed drive at the Hungaroring, a drive in which he showed pace and resilience, withstanding pressure to bring home a good result.
Six like the laps in which Kimi had to fend off the attacks of a fresh-tyred Valtteri Bottas and his Mercedes.
Six can also be, in many senses, be a grade for our season so far. Pass mark, but with margin for improvement: a satisfactory score, but knowing full well we want so much more when we return. There is so much potential in the team, a potential we will need to fully unlock after the break.
For now, time for holidays. A time to recharge our batteries, regroup and come back stronger. Nine races separate us from the end of the season, nine chances to score points in what is turning out to be a furiously close battle in the midfield. The break will be a much-needed time for bodies and minds to recover: but no matter how enjoyable a holiday can be, we know we will miss racing and we will be looking forward to the next Grand Prix.
At least, we won’t be away for six weeks.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal: “It’s been very much a race of two halves for the team. Kimi did really well to drive a clean race and resist pressure from Bottas in the last few laps. Seventh was all we could hope for today so we can be satisfied with these points. As for Antonio, starting in P17 meant he was always going to struggle on this track, and an issue with his first set of tyres meant he didn’t get the chance to make any progress in the race.”
P7. Kimi Räikkönen: “Well, that was quite good. The car behaved great, I did a good job in the first lap and stayed out of trouble and then we had even better speed than the McLaren, but it was impossible to overtake. We lost one position at the pit stop but also gained one, so that’s a bit of a shame, but overall I can’t be too disappointed. I’ll take the points and move on. Look forward to spending the summer break with my family, but I’m also happy for all the people in the team, as they work incredibly hard and deserve some time off.”
P18. Antonio Giovinazzi: “It was a very disappointing race for me today. I had contact on the opening lap, when I was squeezed between two cars at turn one, and I had an issue with my first set of tyres that meant I had to cut my first stint much shorter than we were planning. It was a shame to end the first part of the season like this, especially because we had shown good pace in recent races, but it was another day in which we didn’t manage to turn our potential into points. At least we have some holidays now – a chance to hit reset during the summer break and come back to do much better in the second part of the season. The first half of my season hasn’t been ideal, but I can take heart from the improvement we had. It’s been a rollercoaster but I’ll keep working hard to improve.”