Alfa's Giovinazzi targeting elusive first F1 point after out-qualifying Raikkonen
For the second Grand Prix in a row, Antonio Giovinazzi out-qualified much more experienced team mate Kimi Raikkonen in France on Saturday. But now the Alfa Romeo man is on the hunt for something more important – his maiden world championship point...
Unlike Raikkonen, Giovinazzi progressed to Q3 at Circuit Paul Ricard to qualify 10th, giving the Italian his best grid position to date – he qualified eighth in Azerbaijan but started the race 17th after penalties – which he plans to build on come Sunday.
“Yes, it was a positive qualifying,” said a delighted Giovinazzi. “Top 10, I think I am really happy with this. Tomorrow will be a difficult race, starting with the soft [tyre], but we have good pace and hope we can also have a better result tomorrow.
"We start from the top 10 - we need to be there for the rest of the race, have a good strategy, good pace and finally try to get this first point."
Asked about again getting the better of his veteran Alfa colleague – and the man who lifted the 2007 drivers’ crown – Kimi Raikkonen, Giovinazzi added: “Yeah, it’s tough!
“He’s still a world champion team mate and still really strong and fast, so I’m really happy with this, but important tomorrow to try and take finally this first point.”
To score that first point, Giovinazzi will need to improve on his best race result to date by a single position – he took 11th place in Bahrain earlier in the year after starting 16th on the grid.
As for Raikkonen, the Finn admitted a mistake on his part had been the difference between a place in the pole shoot-out and the Q2 elimination he suffered, on a weekend when Alfa Romeo have brought significant upgrades to their car.
“We’ve brought some improvements, new parts, it’s improved – I just made a mistake in that last lap and that’s enough to cost [you], but that’s how it goes,” he commented. “We can at least choose the tyres that we want [for the race start], so it’s not too bad.”