Antonio Giovinazzi was ‘really happy’ to truly show his potential for the first time in Qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with the Italian making it into the top ten shootout for the first time and setting the eighth fastest time overall.
Unfortunately for the Alfa Romeo Racing driver, he knew coming into the session that he would be dropping ten places on the grid following the teams’ decision to switch to a new control electronics unit, his third of the year in just the fourth race of the season.
However, Giovinazzi still hopes to convert the pace he has shown during Friday and Saturday at the Baku City Circuit into a positive result on Sunday, with a first points finish of his career his ultimately target.
“To be in Q3 for the first time makes me really happy,” said Giovinazzi. “My pace was already very strong in yesterday’s FP2.
“We got the maximum out of our car today, and even if I’ve been given a 10-place penalty I hope to score some points here. It’s been a chaotic race for the last two years and we can’t predict how it will be tomorrow, so we will do our best to have a good race and fight our way forward.”
Team-mate Kimi Räikkönen also made it into the top ten but was a little slower than Giovinazzi in ninth, although he will be the first beneficiary of the Italian’s penalty, so will start eighth. The Finn was not happy with his performance in Q3, feeling he was too close to one of the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport drivers on his lap so he lost performance when it mattered.
“[It was] quite disappointing as I couldn’t put a decent lap together in the last part of qualifying,” admitted Räikkönen. “For the last try I was too close to the Mercedes so my lap was more or less over before it had even started.
“My expectations for the race? I don’t have any, as anything can happen here.”