Giovinazzi Left With Thoughts of What Might Have Been after Leading First Laps of Formula 1 Career in Singapore

by Paul Hensby

Antonio Giovinazzi secured a point’s finish for a second consecutive weekend at the Marina Bay Street Circuit on Sunday, although the Italian felt there was definitely a possibility for more.

The Alfa Romeo Racing driver actually led for four laps of the Singapore Grand Prix thanks to pitting later than the frontrunners, with Giovinazzi becoming the first driver since the British Grand Prix of 2015 to lead a race driving for someone other than Mercedes AMG Motorsport, Scuderia Ferrari or Red Bull Racing.

Giovinazzi believes that had he pitted earlier than he did, he could have finished as high as seventh, but delaying his stop relegated him to outside the top ten, with a late race flourish and some retirements ahead of him bringing him back into tenth at the chequered flag.

“It’s was big battle of a race,” said Giovinazzi.  “I am happy with bringing home a point for me and the team, but I still have the feeling we could have finished higher up.

“We stretched our first stint on mediums longer than ideal, although it’s easy to look back at it with the benefit of hindsight. Had we stopped earlier, we could have perhaps been ahead of Norris in P7.”

Giovinazzi admitted that prior to his pit stop, he was struggling the conserve the life in his tyres, while a clash with Daniel Ricciardo at the end of the back straight saw him fight for the rest of the evening with a bent suspension. 

However, nothing was going to stop him fighting back, and he was able to claim the final point despite a post-race penalty for driving too closely to a crane during a safety car period.

“I was struggling at the end of the tyres’ life and the clash with Daniel [Ricciardo] didn’t help either, as I was left with damage to my front suspension for the rest of the race,” said the Italian.  “The steering wheel pulled to one side and it was a real struggle, but I really wanted that point and I fought until the end for this position.

“Leading the race and fighting at the top against the Ferraris and Mercedes was a great feeling, and I hope someone at home took a screenshot of the standings at the time!”

Team Principal Frédéric Vasseur said Giovinazzi hardly put a foot wrong all evening long and deserved more than just the one point.  He believes it could have been an ‘incredible’ result for the Italian had the safety car come out just a few laps earlier, with Giovinazzi having made his pit stop under green flag conditions just a couple of laps prior to it being deployed.

“Finishing with one point in such a rollercoaster of a race is positive, but there is a bit of regret for how the night unfolded,” said Vasseur.  “Antonio ran an excellent race, hardly doing anything wrong, and had the Safety Car come out just a few laps earlier, we could have been talking about an incredible result for him.

“Antonio still managed to rescue a point despite a damaged car, but the feeling of “what if” remains.  In the end, a point is a point but we will be aiming for more in Sochi next week.”

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