Antonio Giovinazzi enjoyed his first experience of the Circuit de Monaco in a Formula 1 car on Thursday, with the Italian achieving the rare feat of outpacing his more experienced team-mate Kimi Räikkönen on the day.
Giovinazzi completed thirty-nine laps on Thursday morning in setting the twelfth fastest time, but with lap times significantly faster in the afternoon, he placed eighth with a time of 1:12.239, just over a tenth of a second better than his Alfa Romeo Racing team-mate.
The Italian feels there is a lot of work to do in order to remain inside that top ten such is the closeness of the midfield battle, with just over half a second covering Alexander Albon in fifth from his Scuderia Toro Rosso team-mate Daniil Kvyat in fourteenth!
“I am happy about today’s work,” said Giovinazzi. “The first time in an F1 car around Monaco can be a bit daunting, but I got into a rhythm quickly and was able to enjoy the sessions.
“There isn’t a lot between all the teams so we will need to make some more improvement tonight to stay in the top 10.”
Räikkönen is in agreement with Giovinazzi about the work that needs to be done in order to put themselves in a position to fight for a top ten starting position, which hopefully will lead to a fifth points finish in six races for the veteran Finn since his switch to Alfa Romeo after leaving Scuderia Ferrari.
“I am not unhappy with the first two practice sessions,” said Räikkönen, who is competing in his three-hundredth Grand Prix of his career this weekend. “It was better than expected, but we still have a lot of work to do to get the best out of the car.”
Team Principal Frédéric Vasseur was content with the days action around the principality and feels getting both cars into the top ten in Qualifying on Saturday is the goal for Alfa Romeo.
“It’s good to start in Monaco with two clean session, as track time is essential to build confidence around this track,” said Vasseur. “We are satisfied with the work we did today but we are not getting carried away.
“Finding some extra performance is crucial if we want to target two places in Q3, which is our objective.”