Kimi Raikkonen says he’s “just the driver like in any other team” and has played down his pivotal role at Alfa Romeo since joining the team over the winter.

The Finn has scored all of Alfa Romeo’s 13 points from the opening four rounds, putting him eighth in the Formula 1 drivers’ standings and his team sixth in the constructors’ championship, as inexperienced teammate Antonio Giovinazzi has struggled to match his performances.

With Raikkonen approaching his 300th F1 Grand Prix start next month, which he’ll reach at the Austrian Grand Prix assuming he starts every race before the Spielberg event, the Finn returned to the team he started his F1 career with after being ditched by Ferrari and was expected to take a senior role given his experience.

Despite proving his worth with points finishes at every race so far in 2019, including his pit lane start to 10th place charge at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the 39-year-old has shrugged off his own influence at the Sauber-run squad and says his role hasn’t changed.

“I don’t think so. In the end I’m just the driver, like in any other team,” Raikkonen dismissed. “As a team I think we’re not as big as some other teams I’ve been with, but we have the tools.

“It’s a bit different because we don’t produce the engines and the gearbox, like in Ferrari. If you purely take how many people we are, compared to the big teams, we have less, but if you take the gearbox and engine people out, I think we have quite a lot of people.

“In certain areas we probably need more but I think the team is still growing up. It’s not many years ago that they were in a pretty bad situation and it’s quite impressive how far they’ve move forward in a short period of time.

“These are still building times, getting everything, to be where we want to be, but people-wise we have very good people and just need to keep fine-tuning and getting better and faster decisions. Just iron out any small issues, because they can make a big difference in the results.

“It’s all learning and I think my position isn’t any different than any other year. Maybe with my experience I can help them in some areas but I don’t feel less or more important than I was before.”

 

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