Antonio Giovinazzi ended Qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix with a place inside the top ten, with the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN driver delighted to have made it into Q3 on the medium tyre.
Giovinazzi, who will leave Formula 1 at the end of 2021 to race in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship with Dragon/Penske Autosport, enjoyed a strong day at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on Saturday, with the Italian earning a place inside Q3.
He is hoping to be able to convert his place inside the top ten into a points finish on Sunday, which will give him a confidence boost after scoring only one point in the opening twenty races of the year.
“It was a great qualifying and I had a lot of fun, the car today was just brilliant,” said Giovinazzi. “We knew the medium tyres would be better and we showed just how good they were in Q2.
“The soft in Q3 weren’t as good and we struggled a bit more, it took us longer to get them in the right window, but tomorrow we will start on medium which is a positive. I could have improved even more on my Q2 lap but I had a little kiss with the wall on my final flying lap: thankfully I could still make it through.
“Starting in P10 with our preferred tyres, on a track like this, will be good and I can’t wait for the race. We had a strong weekend straight from FP1 and now we just need to keep this pace, maybe with a bit of the luck that has eluded us all season, to bring home a good result.”
“We should have stayed on the mediums for an extra lap” – Kimi Räikkönen
Team-mate Kimi Räikkönen felt a place inside the top ten was possible on his side of the garage as well, but the Finn missed out by a narrow margin and will start his penultimate Formula 1 race from twelfth on the grid.
Räikkönen felt that staying on the medium tyre for an additional lap in Q2 might have worked in his favour, but ultimately the soft tyres did not work for him and he was unable to make it into Q3.
“It was a good performance, we were really close to making it to Q3 but it didn’t work out in the end,” said Räikkönen. “The last corner wasn’t that good and it cost us a little bit of time, but in the end what made the difference was that probably we should have stayed on the mediums for an extra lap.
“I wanted to try the soft tyres and it didn’t work. Still, we are in a good place to start: it’s hard to tell how the race will go, it will surely be important to be in the thick of it and we’ll give everything to bring home a good result.”