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Giovinazzi reveals he had no radio in Russian GP making late pit stop call even more tricky

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Perhaps the most crucial part of Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix was when the rain began falling six laps from the end. This sparked frantic radio conversations between all the drivers and their engineers as they tried to decide whether to pit or stay out – all the drivers except Antonio Giovinazzi that is, as the Italian revealed afterwards that he had no radio for the entire race.

Giovinazzi – who had a heavy crash in second practice (see the video below) – qualified 18th but the team took a gearbox penalty on Sunday before the Grand Prix, and, given the likes of Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Nicholas Latifi would be relegated to the rear of the grid with engine penalties, the Alfa Romeo driver was actually promoted a place to P17 on the grid. But things didn’t improve much from there, as he explained.

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“Yes, had contact – I don’t know with who – in Turn 2, and I lost a little bit of positions there and then, then no radio from Lap 1 so no communication with the team and in the end it didn’t help with these conditions…” he said.

It turned out to be contact with Haas’s Mick Schumacher going into Turn 2 after the lights went out that caused damage to Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo – but the Italian soldiered on.

2021 Russian GP FP2: Giovinazzi crash into barriers brings out red flags

However, while others including team mate Kimi Raikkonen gained when the rain began to fall at the end of the race – the Finn having finished eighth with an opportune Lap 47 stop for intermediates – Giovinazzi still didn’t have radio communication and thus pitted too late, on Lap 50, losing out on any potential advantage in the rain and eventually finishing 16th.

“It has been a difficult afternoon, especially when the rain started at the end of the race, and I couldn’t talk to the pits about the tyre change. I’m pleased for the team’s result, but I’m already looking forward to Turkey,” he added.

READ MORE: 'I’d rather be a bit higher up' says Raikkonen despite best finish of the season at Sochi

Team Principal Frederic Vasseur praised his driver for performing under tough conditions, as he said: “Despite a difficult Saturday, we entered the race with some quiet optimism as we knew we would be in a position to fight. Kimi had a good start to jump to P10, while Antonio was hit and had to recover from the back. He was in a few good fights and made some nice overtaking moves –all the more so as he had no radio.”

Alfa Romeo haven’t yet confirmed who will race alongside Valtteri Bottas in 2022 and Giovinazzi is certainly under pressure; his only point-scoring race this season has been Monaco, back in May. Turkey is up next on the weekend of October 8.

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