It was cruel, really, that in what was by far his strongest qualifying session of the season, Antonio Giovinazzi would see his eighth place become 18th for the race following a 10-place grid drop for changing his Alfa Romeo’s Control Electronics ahead of the weekend.
Having failed to appear in Q3 so far in 2019, Giovinazzi was impressive around the streets of Baku to outgun his team mate Kimi Raikkonen in Q3 as the Alfas were classified P8 and P9, in what was their collective best qualifying of the year.
But despite the penalty that will see him line up on the penultimate row of the grid for Sunday’s race, Giovinazzi was still confident that Alfa Romeo’s strong pace – and the unpredictability of the racing in Azerbaijan – could see him finish in the top 10 come the race end.
“It was really good qualifying,” said Giovinazzi, who won both GP2 races in Baku the last time he raced here in 2016.
“From yesterday, FP2, I felt really nice. From the car I got good confidence. Of course tomorrow we need to take the 10 position grid penalty, but you know, it's a race where everything can happen. Yesterday the race pace was also really good so I hope we can come back and take some points.”
Giovinazzi is currently the highest placed driver in the standings yet to score a point, having managed a best result of 11th at the Bahrain Grand Prix, along with a pair of 15th places.