How Alfa Romeo's tyre blunder sealed Kimi Raikkonen's 's*** weekend'

Kimi Raikkonen at the Italian Grand Prix

A year ago Kimi Raikkonen claimed pole position for Ferrari and battled for victory against Lewis Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix.

In 2019 he had a thoroughly miserable time and was quick to label his weekend as “s**t”.

Raikkonen went off in wet conditions in the first practice session but it was his error during Q3 that triggered a chain reaction of events.

Raikkonen lost control of his C38 through Parabolica in Q3 and suffered a rear-first impact, sustaining irreparable damage to the gearbox.

That led to a five-place grid penalty and Alfa Romeo wisely opted to take on fresh engine components.

Raikkonen switched from Ferrari’s second-phase engine to its latest iteration, but doing so after parc ferme regulations were applied meant a pit lane start due to a change of specification.

Alfa Romeo mistakenly believed that it freed up Raikkonen’s strategy for the race, having originally been consigned to starting on the Soft tyres he used in Q2, under the regulations for those who make it through to Q3.

But the regulations outline that a change of tyres is only permitted if the chassis is also changed.

Raikkonen thus started on a new set of Medium tyres and was handed a 10-second stop-and-go penalty, wrecking any prospects he had of fighting for a points finish.

“I don’t know the rules, somebody f***ed up somewhere but it just happened,” he said.

“Plus that f***ing set was completely useless.

“It was a s*** weekend, really. There was my mistake in qualifying, and then in the race, for some reason, we had the wrong tyres, I don’t know why.”

Alfa Romeo salvaged points from its ‘home’ event courtesy of Antonio Giovinazzi, who secured his best Formula 1 result by racing to ninth.

The squad nonetheless lost further ground in the Constructors' Championship and is now 12 points behind seventh-placed Racing Point.