Antonio Giovinazzi expressed delight at his debut qualifying performance having been called up at short notice to drive for Sauber this weekend.
The Ferrari reserve driver was called up to take Pascal Wehrlein’s place when the Sauber driver decided he had still not fully recovered from his Race of Champions crash injuries.
Giovinazzi came close to progressing beyond the first stage of qualifying but missed the cut by two-tenths of a second.
“That is a special day for me kicking off my first Formula One grand prix weekend,” he said.
“I am really happy with my performance today, I was just a few tenths away from Q2.”
Giovinazzi goes into tomorrow’s 58-lap Australian Grand Prix having only done 26 laps of the track so far today.
“It will be a long race tomorrow,” he admitted. “A lot can happen here in Melbourne. I will do my best to put in my maximum performance.”
Giovinazzi will be the first Italian driver to participate in an F1 race since Vitantonio Liuzzi and Jarno Trulli retired at the end of 2011.
2017 F1 season
- Stripping Verstappen of 2017 US podium was “one of the toughest decisions” – steward
- Sepang pays Haas compensation for Grosjean’s 2017 crash
- Williams revenues rose in 2017 after Bottas deal with Mercedes
- New kerbs at COTA in response to Verstappen’s corner-cutting
- Australian Grand Prix cost government £56 million last year
15 comments on “Giovinazzi delighted after “special” F1 debut”
Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
25th March 2017, 8:35
Give that man a drive! Amazing stuff when so many of the younger drivers appear to be struggling with the new cars.
25th March 2017, 16:29
If it wasn’t for that mistake on his last lap, his debut qualifying would have been perfect. He really drove the wheels of the car, using all the track available like a seasoned driver. Great talent, indisputably. There’s some younger drivers that don’t shine immediately but eventually make their mark on the other hand none of those are the real deal.
25th March 2017, 8:41
He did really well considering he had little track time, the cars are harder to drive and throw in the nerves and pressure. To be ahead of Magnussen and Palmer is no mean feat.
25th March 2017, 8:43
I don’t but sometimes talented drivers are noticed and i don’t know why. Maybe because talent cannot be quantified. I can’t wait to see him race, Antonio is even great at race condition and specially overtaking.
25th March 2017, 8:53
Wonder if Ferrari could get Wherlein removed, Sauber use Ferrari engines and must be closer to Ferrari than Merc, myst be something in the contract. This guy has a more impressive record in single seaters. Shame his dad is not as rich as Palmers or Strolls.
25th March 2017, 9:02
Barely any tracktime, and performing so well! Ditch Stroll, Wehrlein, Ericcson, Palmer or Magnussen and give this guy a seat! Not only a good drive today, but also a very welcome personality.
Dim sim (@dimsim)
25th March 2017, 10:31
25th March 2017, 10:48
26 laps in total, started driving today in Melbourne after a late night call.
Would have probably out-qualified Ericsson if it wasn’t for that lock-up
I want to see more of Gio!
25th March 2017, 11:41
The thing I love about Giovinazzi is that I’m at Melbourne for the Grand Prix this weekend and the Melbourne Walk is where all the drivers and team bosses come down and sign autographs for all the fans overly keen to see their heroes and the event started at 10:30 and I got there 2 minutes late and inevitably paid the prices as there were so many people lining up waiting. But one thing I noticed is that there was only one person who was signing autographs for the fans as soon as the event started and that was Giovinazzi. He looked overwhelmed by all of the support and he looked he was having an amazing time gather with the fans and since I’m a huge fan of his, being able to see him there was great for me. But after he moved down, no driver or team boss showed up until 11, so roughly 30 minutes after Giovinazzi was there. Now that is a personality.
And for his ability, it really does speak for itself. You have Palmer, Stroll, Magnussen and even Vandoorne (just a little bit here) struggling to get the most out of the car and how to take this beast properly but Giovinazzi had 3 hours of practice less than rest and his best time was fractionally slower than Ericsson’s and he almost made it to Q2 which is an amazing achievement for a last minute call up.
I seriously hope he does well in the race tomorrow because doing F2 again this year will just be bullying to the others because he proved himself worthy after his first year last year so I hope his race result tomorrow will lead to a drive as a replacement driver for either Wehrlein or Ericsson
25th March 2017, 11:44
Tame* not take. Hate autocorrect
25th March 2017, 14:03
Could not agree more
Jorge Lardone (@jorge-lardone)
25th March 2017, 15:06
Fer no.65 (@fer-no65)
25th March 2017, 13:01
Sauber has a problem with their 3 driver line-up (again). Either this guy is a magician, or Ericsson needs the boot. 3 years of experience and miles and miles in testing, and he just outqualifies the rookie, on his 20th lap at this track? And only because of Giovanazzi’s mistake in his last run… how embarrasing!
25th March 2017, 15:04
At least this time the roles between the drivers are clear.
Just a shame that the most talented one is the reserve driver.
Some GP2 drivers have trouble switchin from GP2 to F1 (Kovalainen, Palmer, Petrov, Piquet jr) while others just get it (Hamilton, Rosberg, Bianchi, Kobayashi. Still feel that last one got shafted by Sauber.)
Giovinazzi looks like one of those guys who just get it.
25th March 2017, 15:35
Remember people that Giovinazzi replaced Wehrlein for half of the winter testing, so the car wasn’t unknown to him. He had good amount of mileage behind him.
Nevertheless, it was a fantastic effort today by him and showcased that Ericsson has no place in F1 if it wasn’t for the money he brings. Giovinazzi-Wehrlein should be Sauber’s line-up.
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