Alfa boss praises Giovinazzi’s Monza comeback after late Spa crash

Formula 1

Alfa Romeo Formula 1 boss Fred Vasseur has praised Antonio Giovinazzi for bouncing back from the psychological blow of his costly late Spa crash to finish ninth at Monza.

Giovinazzi lost a potential eighth place in Belgium when he had a high-speed crash on the penultimate lap, having carried the team’s hopes throughout after Kimi Raikkonen’s first lap clash with Max Verstappen.

In his home race at Monza, Giovinazzi was again the team’s main representative after Raikkonen started from the pit lane and lost all chance of points with an early stop and go penalty for a tyre offence.

This time Giovinazzi finished ninth, logging only his second points finish of the season after his 10th place in Austria.

He did also finish eighth on the road in Germany only to lose the result for a clutch offence at the start, and that result is still subject to an appeal by the Swiss team.

Giovinazzi has inevitably been in the spotlight thanks to Raikkonen’s consistent scoring in 2019, with the Finnish veteran currently leading their internal battle by 31 points to three, although Giovinazzi has been much closer in qualifying.

Despite some pressure to put Marcus Ericsson back in the car for 2020 Giovinazzi’s future is believed to be secure as Ferrari has the rights to one seat at Alfa, and none of its junior drivers are deemed ready to make the graduation, with Mick Schumacher set for a second year of F2.

“It was important to score points, and Antonio did a good race after a good quali,” Vasseur told Autosport.

“You won’t get back the points from Spa in any case, but at least we can start in Singapore from scratch.

“It’s never easy on the psychological side to manage this kind of situation. But I think honestly he did a strong performance in quali, he was there in free practice, and he did a strong race.

“Honestly the reaction he had was a good one, it’s never easy to be in this situation, and to react like this. He showed that he had the shoulders to do it.

Giovinazzi admitted he felt under some pressure following the Spa incident.

“It was not easy but I think the team gave maximum support to me and the people here were really nice,” he said. “And this made the weekend a lot more smooth and in the end we achieved a good result.

“I think I always race with pressure, also in F3 I had a sponsor and I knew if I was not fast enough the sponsor would change drivers, and same in F2. So for me, it’s normal to race on pressure and here, at least I had the support of the team as well, and the people as well, the fans.”

Asked about his future he said: “I don’t know, I think if I am fast enough, and the comparison with Kimi I think is there, I think nobody can take my seat for next year.”

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