Alfa Romeo was fined for the loose wheel incident that halted Kimi Raikkonen’s Austrian Grand Prix but sought solace in its improved race pace and Antonio Giovinazzi’s points.
Alfa Romeo qualified as the slowest team with Giovinazzi 18th and Raikkonen 19th and were outside of the top 10 positions for most of the race.
Raikkonen’s grand prix came to an end when his front-right wheel detached shortly before the second restart and stewards issued a €5,000 fine for the transgression.
The fine was not as high as for some incidents as the issue was put down to a cross-threaded wheel nut, which neither the team nor driver realised.
But while Raikkonen failed to reach the finish Giovinazzi avoided the drama and collected two points courtesy of ninth spot.
“After our difficult qualifying, to get to the points was the maximum we could do,” said Giovinazzi.
“The race wasn’t easy, we struggled a little at the start but we got stronger as the race went on.
“Of course, in such a chaotic race you need a bit of luck, but we were ready to grab any chance with two hands when it came.
“We put up a big fight for this and in the end P9 is a great way to start the season. I am really happy for the guys and girls in the garage and back at home.
“There’s still a lot to improve but it’s just the first race of the season: there’s plenty of time and I am already looking forward to being back in the car.”
Alfa Romeo’s Team Principal Frederic Vasseur added that “scoring points in the opening race of the season is always a good thing, but there are more positives than just the result at the chequered flag.
“Our race pace was a definite step forward from qualifying and we were able to extract more of the potential of the C39.”