Antonio Giovinazzi drove a composed race on his Formula 1 debut as the last minute stand-in for Pascal Wehrlein finished twelfth in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.
The Scuderia Ferrari reserve driver only found out he was racing for the Sauber F1 Team on Saturday morning, and delivered an excellent performance throughout in both qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday.
The first Italian to race in Formula 1 since 2011 finished two laps down after a conservative afternoon behind the wheel of the C36-Ferrari, but admitted his main aim was to gain experience and help get some much needed data that will help the team going forward.
“It was a good race, and I am happy with my performance today,” said Giovinazzi. “My objective was to gain more experience and collect mileage in the car. I will sit together with my engineers to analyze areas where I can improve.
“I want to thank the Sauber F1 Team and Scuderia Ferrari again for this opportunity. It was an amazing race weekend for me.”
Giovinazzi admitted he did take it easy during the race in order to get a better understanding of the car and the tyres, but felt he put in a great performance after not expecting to be racing at all this weekend.
“I took it really easy, just to understand the tyres and understand the car,” said Giovinazzi on Motorsport.com. “This was the target for me, just to understand the car more and have the experience from the tyres and the car.
“Yesterday I was just two tenths from Q2, and today just two positions to the points. To be on top of the rookie drivers, with the preparation I had before – nothing – I think was a pretty good weekend.”