Giovinazzi's French GP tyre strategy 'a disaster' according to Alfa boss Vasseur
It was all looking so good for Antonio Giovinazzi on Saturday afternoon in France as he made it into Q3 for the second time this season, outqualifying his Alfa Romeo team mate Kimi Raikkonen for the second successive race. But in making it into the Top 10 shootout he used the soft tyre, meaning he was forced to start Sunday's race on the same rubber - a scenario that was a “disaster” according to his team boss Frederic Vasseur.
Data gathered during Friday practice suggested the soft tyre should be avoided in the race because the long runs showed laptimes dropped quickly after just a few laps. However, some of the midfield teams weren’t quick enough to get through to Q3 on the medium – and thus start the race on that rubber – so they were forced into running the soft.
Giovinazzi was one of those drivers and found himself going backwards before an early stop dropped him to the back of the field. Though the car had pace to compete for points, as Raikkonen proved having utilised his place outside the top 10 to start on more durable tyres, Giovinazzi simply couldn’t make any progress to extend his wait for his first F1 points.
“He had very strong pace in qualifying and to start with softs was more or less a disaster,” Vasseur said on F1 Live on Twitter. “For sure it was tough this weekend but I think it would be better to start from P9 next week in Spielberg!
“He needs to stay focused on qualifying. He’s doing a good job, he’s improving, the pace is there. Each race he is doing a better job. He was a bit unlucky with the circumstances today.”
On Friday morning we were nowhere and then we had a good recovery to finish inside the top 10
Raikkonen spent much all of the race battling the Renaults, ultimately taking seventh to end a three-race pointless streak. “I think the pace was there for us and it was a good reward for the team after the last few races we have had,” said Vasseur. “We are pushing and we will continue to push. To be back in the points is a good step forward.
“The midfield is exciting because you can move from one session to another from P7 to P18, On Friday morning we were nowhere and then we had a good recovery to finish inside the top 10. It’s exciting, even if we are far away from the top six cars. It doesn’t matter. We are racing with Renault and McLaren – it’s a good step forward.”
Alfa Romeo are currently seventh in the constructors’ championship, level on points with Racing Point and 21 adrift of fourth-placed McLaren, who head the midfield battle.