Antonio Giovinazzi: “If we take any chance we get, we can finish this weekend positively”

by Paul Hensby

Despite having qualified twelfth, Antonio Giovinazzi will start the Singapore Grand Prix from tenth on the grid on Sunday, with the Italian the first of those with a free choice of starting tyre.

The Alfa Romeo Racing driver moved initially up to eleventh thanks to a gearbox penalty for Sergio Pérez, but the Italian was then given an additional place when Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified from Qualifying, promoting Giovinazzi up to tenth.

Giovinazzi admitted that it had not been the smoothest of weekends up until Qualifying but to get so close to the top ten in Qualifying was a good effort, and from his new starting position, it gives him a good shot at claiming just his third top ten finish of 2019.

“It hasn’t been the smoothest weekend so far, so to qualify so close to the top ten is a decent result,” said Giovinazzi, ahead of the announcement of Ricciardo’s exclusion.  “I think I could have improved a little in my fastest lap, but looking at the pace of the Renaults and McLarens, it would have been very difficult to beat them.

“Starting in P11 tomorrow, because of Pérez’s penalty, means we are the first of the cars with a free choice of tyres and that can be an advantage. We saw the softs degrade a lot yesterday, so we can pick another compound and make a good strategy out of it.

“It’s going to be a long race tomorrow, but if we take any chance we get, we can finish this weekend positively with some points.”

Team-mate Kimi Räikkönen was another driver to gain two positions on the grid thanks to the penalties ahead of him, with the Finn set to start from twelfth.  Räikkönen felt that the C38-Ferrari has been improving steadily throughout the weekend but in Qualifying trim, it was just not quick enough to challenge the top ten, but he believes it can be a different story on race day.

“This hasn’t been an easy weekend for us so far,” admitted Räikkönen.  “The car is improving step by step but still we’re not fast enough. I don’t know if it is about the tyres, sometimes we seem to have grip but then it goes away and that makes it hard to feel confident and push properly.

“The long runs yesterday have shown more consistency so hopefully the race will be a bit easier for us.”

Team Principal Frédéric Vasseur says there were still positives to take from Qualifying despite the double Q2 elimination, with the pace found made between final practice and Qualifying, at least on Giovinazzi’s side of the garage, quite astounding.

“Yes, this is not an easy weekend for us, but still I would like to stick to the positives,” said Vasseur.  “After FP3 we were nearly a second behind the Renaults, in Qualifying Antonio missed Q3 by only 0.1 seconds against them.

“So our recovery today was great and given Pérez’s grid penalty we’ll start from P11 and P13 which means there are definitely a few points up for grabs.”

Kimi Räikkönen will start the Singapore Grand Prix from twelfth on the grid – Credit: Florent Gooden / DPPI

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