Alfa Romeo Racing's head of trackside engineering, Xevi Pujolar, has revealed that a mixture of constant updates from the drivers to the pit wall on the adverse weather conditions during the latter stages of the Russian Grand Prix was crucial in securing the Swiss outfit's first points of the second half of the season.
After a disappointing qualifying session that saw both cars knocked out in Q1, Alfa Romeo profited from the tricky conditions in the closing stages of the race, with Kimi Raikkonen scoring his best finish of the season with eighth.
Pujolar revealed that Raikkonen's constant updates to the Alfa Romeo pit wall and the rain arriving in the latter stages of the race helped the Finn move into the points scoring positions.
“It was a good race, even if yesterday was a quite poor performance for him in qualifying with the conditions, we know that on Friday in the dry, everything was looking well and was similar to what we had in previous weekends, we could have a good chance in Qualifying, and also (with) higher fuel we had decent pace. "
“If it's dry, the track is sometimes not easy to overtake (with), but if something happens on Lap 1 or in the race, then theirs a chance, and we could see in terms of pace that we were able to fight with the competitors around us and then the rain came very late, and everything changed very quickly. "
“We knew that we needed to be just ready in terms of (the) drivers call because they're the ones driving out there, and it will be very difficult for us to understand from the pit wall what will be the conditions and just telling the drivers to let us know when it's too much, and we need to box.
“It was asking him, whether it was too wet to be out on slicks, and it was his call to come in because as I said for us, it's very difficult when it's not as wet on every part of the track, so we were continuously asking what's going on, and it was his call, and we said ok, it's getting close to the pit entry, now what do you think and (Kimi) said it's getting too much so we went for interest. "
"It was a good call, it worked well for Kimi, and we managed to gain some positions and some points, which is good for us."
It wasn't all plain sailing for the Hinwil-based team, with Antonio Giovinazzi's race being compromised after his team radio had stopped working after just a few laps.
Pujolar said that the lack of communication between the pit wall and Giovinazzi cost the Italian his second points finish of the season.
“Today (his race was) affected quite a bit because it was a tricky race, with the fuel management and at the end of the race with the weather. Initially, for a few laps, we had radio (communication) where he could hear us, but we couldn't hear him, and after a few laps, we lost everything, so it was getting a bit difficult to what we wanted to achieve. "
"It affected his performance, mainly toward the end of the first stint was when we started to pay for a bit of performance because we couldn't run to our optimum (level of performance)."