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Giovinazzi delighted to end Friday in P7 – but wary of Mercedes resurgence in qualifying

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99 GIOVINAZZI Antonio (ita), Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C41, action during the Formula 1 Azerbaijan

Alfa Romeo continued their promising form as Antonio Giovinazzi finished seventh in the second practice session for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix – but the Italian driver said the looming threat of Mercedes could bump them down the order when it comes to qualifying.

Giovinazzi was elated with his performance on Friday having finished eight-tenths off Sergio Perez's pace in FP2, and ahead of the McLaren of Lando Norris – so much so, he said he’d sign on the dotted line to repeat that performance on Saturday.

But as Lewis Hamilton finished 11th and Valtteri Bottas 16th for Mercedes in that session, the Alfa Romeo driver said he wasn’t expecting to stay ahead of them in qualifying.

READ MORE: ‘We're just slow’ – Hamilton and Bottas ‘scratching their heads’ over Mercedes pace deficit in Baku

“Since FP1, it was not too bad and in FP2 we improved a little bit the car, and it was actually better,” he said on Friday. “So yes, happy with the quali simulation, with the race simulation. Of course I know that P7, I would sign something to do that tomorrow as well, but we know the Mercedes will be back.

“We need to be happy with our jobs; still something we can improve for tomorrow. Tomorrow will be critical with the slipstream and everything, but yes, we will try to do our best,” he added.

Antonio Giovinazzi knows there's more to 'improve' tomorrow

Giovinazzi has a stellar track record in Baku having taken the first pole position of his GP2 Series (now F2) career there in 2016, winning both the Feature and Sprint Race that year.

READ MORE: Ferrari duo say Baku pace ‘better than expected’ – but think McLaren haven't shown their hand

As a result, he explained: “It feels good, [Baku is] one of my favourite ones – good memories – so it’s good to be back here. We know that the race here is always quite nice. Tomorrow we need to put it all together again in quali but the race will be really important.”

Furthermore, the 27-year-old arrived in Azerbaijan fresh off his and the team’s first point-scoring race of the season, in Monaco – with Alfa Romeo hoping that this could be the start of a rich run of form for the team.

Under the radar: How Antonio Giovinazzi is quietly making waves at Alfa Romeo

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