Giovinazzi ‘a passenger’ in crash on way to grid

Jon Wilde
Alfa Romeo mechanics replace Antonio Giovinazzi's front wing on the grid before the Turkish Grand Prix

Alfa Romeo mechanics replace Antonio Giovinazzi's front wing on the grid before the Turkish Grand Prix

Antonio Giovinazzi revealed he had been merely a “passenger” when his car slid off as he headed to the grid for the Turkish Grand Prix.

Alfa Romeo had enjoyed a terrific wet qualifying session at Istanbul Park but could not replicate that performance in the 500th race for the Sauber team, who run the rebranded operation in Switzerland.

Giovinazzi and his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen both reached Q3 for the first time this season, with the former World Champion starting eighth on the grid and his Italian colleague 10th.

However, Giovinazzi almost undid all his good work before the race had even begun when he exited a slippery, damp circuit on the way to the grid at low speed and came to rest with the front wing up against the barrier.

He eventually got going again and made it to the grid, where the mechanics had to replace the slightly damaged front wing.

But ultimately it counted for nothing as the 26-year-old became the first driver to retire from the race with a gearbox problem on lap 11.

“Unfortunately, on the lap to the grid I lost the car and was like a passenger,” said Giovinazzi who, like Raikkonen, will spend a third year with Alfa Romeo in 2021.

“It was lucky I only damaged the front wing, so the crew did a great job changing it and meant I could start the race. Then during the race we had a gearbox issue.

“The conditions were really tricky, very difficult – I would say more difficult than yesterday from my side, I don’t know why.”

Raikkonen, meanwhile, dropped down the order from his grid slot and finished 15th, although he expressed relief that neither of Alfa Romeo’s rivals in the quest for eighth position in the constructors’ Championship, Haas and Williams, had also ended up in the points.

“For sure it was far from fun, but that’s how it was,” said the Finn of the tricky conditions in Istanbul.

“I think it was more or less what we expected. Unfortunately we don’t have the speed and most of the time I was struggling to make the tyres work. They would work for 10 laps and then they would be finished. I think if it had been complete full wets that would have been better for us.

“Luckily the guys we are racing didn’t score any points, so it’s okay.”

Follow us on Twitter @Planet_F1 and like our Facebook page