Kimi Raikkonen has come out and defended his new team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi, saying he is being judged too early.
While the Finn has enjoyed an excellent start to life at Alfa Romeo, picking up 12 points, Giovinazzi has yet to score and has endured criticism as a result.
Raikkonen though believes this criticism is unfair.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, he said: “I think it’s obviously not been all up to him, he’s unfortunately had a lot of issues on the car.
“He’s had more issues on the practice with the reliability, small issues that are not a big issue but stop the car and then we don’t get running, so it doesn’t help him.
The Italian has admittedly had poor reliability and will serve a ten-place grid penalty in Baku after the team replaced the control electronics on his car.
Raikkonen believes that Giovinazzi should not be judged until he can drive a weekend without such issues.
“Hopefully he gets a clean weekend and then we can judge him much easier, I think it’s very unfair right now to write him off.
“I think he can do fast laps but obviously he has not that much experience, and when you miss one full session in any weekend it’s going to be a nightmare to try to build back on it.”
Giovinazzi will be needing improved reliability and strong performances to match going forward if he is to challenge his team-mate and secure a drive for next season.