Giovinazzi & Alfa still searching for ‘solution’

Antonio Giovinazzi may have beaten Kimi Raikkonen for the first time in Canada but overall it was a race to forget for the Alfa Romeo team.

The Alfa Romeo team-mates qualified 13th and 17th at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with Giovinazzi ahead of Raikkonen for the first time this season.

That effectively became a P12 on the start grid for Giovinazzi given Kevin Magnussen’s pit lane start with the Italian hopeful of scoring his first F1 points.

It was not to be.

The 25-year-old was running inside the top ten when he spun at Turn 1 and fell to the back of the field

He brought his C38 home in 13th place, a lap down on the race winner.

“It was a difficult race,” Giovinazzi said.

“We started with the hard tyres and it was good.

“I had an issue at Turn 1 when I spun, we need to check what happened.

“After that, the pace wasn’t really there.

“We need to check everything, study a lot and try and find a solution.

“We lost the pace, especially in the race, and that’s not good, so we need to check it.”

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Alfa Romeo believe Monaco GP was lost ‘in Q2’

Alfa Romeo “f**ked up” their Monaco Grand Prix weekend in Q2 with team boss Frederic Vasseur saying that is where they “lost something” in terms of pace.

Although either Kimi Raikkonen or Antonio Giovinazzi finished inside the top ten in all three practice sessions, they were unable to do it again in qualifying.

Raikkonen was 14th in Q2 with his team-mate P15, both drivers half a second down on what they needed to make it into the pole position shoot-out.

The Alfa team-mates were unable to recover on the Sunday with Raikkonen 17th at the chequered flag while Giovinazzi was P19.

“I think that we lost the race in Q2,” Vasseur explained to Autosport.

“The pace was there in FP1, FP2 and FP3, we were consistently in the top 10.

“Then between Q1 and Q2 we lost something – we were slower in Q2 compared to Q1, and considering the track improvement and so on, it’s just unrealistic.

“Then we fucked up the weekend.

“We have to do a proper analysis of what we did well or wrong, but the pace was there at some stages of the weekend. We have to build up to the next one on this basis.

“From one session to the other you could destroy the weekend.

“It was more or less the opposite for [Carlos] Sainz, he was nowhere at the beginning, and he came back [to finish sixth].”

Both Raikkonen and Giovinazzi lost positions on the opening lap while the Italian’s race went from bad to worse when he tagged Robert Kubica and earned a 10-second penalty for his antics.

“We had a poor first lap,” added Vasseur.

“Kimi almost spun with [Racing Point driver Lance] Stroll, then Antonio also had a poor start and was stuck behind both of the Williams.

“Then it’s done. He spent 15 laps behind Kubica, and at least he tried [to pass].

“We can’t blame him. We know that if you have to overtake it’s risky, but if you say let’s stay behind you might as well just do the qualifying.”

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Giovinazzi hit with three-place grid penalty

Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi has been hit with a three-place grid penalty after blocking Nico Hulkenberg during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix.

Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg was forced to evade the Italian on the approach to Rascasse in Q1, with the stewards also noting that the team left it very late to warn him about Hulkenberg approaching.

“The driver of car 99 was between turn 16 and turn 18 when he was warned exceptionally late that car 27 was behind him,” the stewards explained. “At the time he was in the middle of the track and clearly impeded car 27.

“The stewards considered that as the driver of car 99 was on a set-up lap, he had the opportunity to give more room regardless of whether he received a warning from the team.

“Further the team had the opportunity to give a better warning. The stewards therefore determined that the impeding was unnecessary, and ordered a three grid place drop, consistent with past practice.”

Giovinazzi will now drop from P15 to P18 for Sunday’s race, while he was also given his first penalty point for the incident.

The drop for Giovinazzi moves Charles Leclerc, Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll up one place on the starting grid in Monaco.

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Alfa Romeo ‘better than expected’ says Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen admitted that Alfa Romeo’s performance in FP1 and FP2 at the Monaco GP was a “better start than we expected”.

Heading into his 300th career race, The Iceman finished both sessions on Thursday in P9, while his under-pressure team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi enjoyed a fine afternoon as he finished ahead of his team-mate in P8.

Raikkonen claimed his one and only win around the streets of Monte Carlo back in 2005, and although 2019 a repeat looks unlikely, he is at least pleased with the foundations that have been laid for the weekend.

“We”ll take it [P9], there is still work to be done,” he told reporters.

“Probably it is a better start [to the weekend] than we expected.

“But, it’s only free practice so we will see [what happens on Saturday].”

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