Giovinazzi finds the positives in partnering Kimi

Michelle Foster
Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen still one of the best on the grid says Antonio Giovinazzi.

Teaming up with Kimi Raikkonen in his first full season in F1, Antonio Giovinazzi admits that was both a disadvantage and an advantage for the Italian.

Giovinazzi joined Alfa Romeo at the beginning of last season, signed by the Hinwil-based team for his first full season in the sport.

He teamed up with Raikkonen, who joined Alfa on the back of a second stint with Ferrari.

It was the Finn, the 2007 World Champion, who had the advantage throughout the opening half of the season, trouncing the Italian.

While Giovinazzi managed just one P10 in the first half of the campaign, Raikkonen scored in eight races included a hat-trick of P7s.

In the second half of the season, Alfa’s results went off the boil with Raikkonen bagging a single P4 while Giovinazzi claimed three points-scoring results, including a P5.

He finished with 14 points to Raikkonen’s 43.

“It was not easy to start my career in F1 with a World Champion driver,” Giovinazzi told Sky Sports F1.

“Also after two years stopping [competition], I lost a little bit wheel to wheel in a race, so it was not easy to start with Kimi beside me in the race.

“If the car was [good enough] for P8 then he was P8 or P7 in terms of result. I think I started to focus after a few races to think about how I could improve especially watching Kimi.

“In the summer I was watching to see why I was slower than Kimi in the race and I was able to improve myself in the second half of the season.

“Now I need to continue like this. I have to treat it as an advantage to have Kimi as my team-mate.”

Raikkonen may be the Iceman with the media, seldom open to saying more than a few words or even give more than a grunt, but Giovinazzi says his team-mate is actually has a really good sense of humour.

He added: “He is the Iceman, he’s a cold guy, but away from the cameras he is a really funny guy, a good guy also to spend a dinner or a lunch with.

“Before Melbourne we went to play tennis together it was a really fun moment – I really respect him as a driver and as a person.”

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