Antonio Giovinazzi was pleased with his Friday performance at the Circuit of the Americas, with the Italian sneaking into the top ten in the afternoon session.
The Alfa Romeo Racing driver, who has never raced at the track in Austin before in his career, ended fifteenth in the morning session but broke into the top ten, in tenth, in the afternoon. His lap of 1:34.839 was 1.607 seconds off the pace of Lewis Hamilton at the front of the field, but it was enough to knock Daniel Ricciardo out of the top ten.
Giovinazzi, who is still to secure an extension to his Alfa Romeo contract for 2020, says there is still some work to be done to ensure they are in a position to challenge for a top ten starting position on Saturday, but for him it was a good start to the weekend at a track he’s never been to before.
“We finish the day with the tenth time and that’s not too bad,” said Giovinazzi. “Our laps on soft tyres were ok and that gives me confidence we can be competitive.
“It was the first time for me here, so I took a few laps to understand the track: the surface is very bumpy and that adds a challenge, but I got in a good groove quickly.
“We still have some work to do tonight to make sure we have the car we need for qualifying, but we can be happy with the work we have done today. I am looking forward to tomorrow.”
Team-mate Kimi Räikkönen, who has yet to score a point since the summer break, ended thirteenth in the morning session, but was unable to match the pace of Giovinazzi in the afternoon, ending down in sixteenth.
Despite the disappointing times, the Finn remains confident he can turn around his weekend at the venue of his last Grand Prix win, which came twelve months ago whilst he was still racing for Scuderia Ferrari.
“It wasn’t a bad start for our weekend,” said Räikkönen. “The cold wasn’t as bad as it had been in the last few days and in the end it is the same for everyone.
“We have a better feeling overall after the first two sessions. True, the lap time is not where we want it to be yet, but the real test to see where we are is tomorrow.”