Raikkonen hails late changes as vital for Alfa Romeo's qualifying shock
Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen revealed last-minute set-up changes in Saturday morning practice led to both cars claiming top-10 grid slots for the first time since the 2019 Austrian GP.
Building upon a double-points finish from the last race in Imola, Raikkonen and team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi made the most of extremely challenging conditions at Turkey's Istanbul Park to qualify eighth and 10th.
The 2007 world champion drove superbly throughout, setting the third-fastest time in Q2 behind the two Red Bulls before securing his high grid slot.
The Finn pointed to a late set-up change during practice three, in particular, as the reason the car came alive during qualifying.
"It didn't feel so nice," said Raikkonen, referring to the conditions. "Definitely, in the morning we struggled like crazy but then luckily we tried to make some changes and put some laps in what were awful conditions but it helped a bit in qualifying.
"It is still not a nice feeling but at least it is the same for everybody and we were not too bad. For sure, it benefits us to be in this type of condition rather than dry.
"It is one of the worst [qualifying experiences] but it is what it is and we cannot change it. We have got through it. It was so easy to spin. I lost it on one of the laps going out of the box but we managed to make a big result out of it."
Giovinazzi's best qualifying of the season jeopardises his record of advancing at least one position on the first lap of every race so far this season.
The Italian conceded his only secret to his best qualifying of the year was "to stay on the track" and revealed his disappointment at suffering from tyre issues in the final session.
"Today was really difficult," he said. "The confidence was coming up lap after lap and this is what I did.
"I started slowly, slowly and then in the last laps I tried to put it all together and it worked. In Q3 I used intermediate tyres which didn't turn on so it was really difficult."
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