Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, Red Bull Ring, 2019

Giovinazzi: The other driver having a tough time against his team mate

2019 team mate battles: Raikkonen vs Giovinazzi

Posted on

| Written by

There’s no question which two drivers have been most decisively shaded by their team mates over the opening races of 2019. As we say yesterday, Robert Kubica has suffered a heavy beating at the hands of rookie George Russell, and Pierre Gasly’s first 12 races against Max Verstappen went so badly Red Bull have dropped him.

Antonio Giovinazzi’s performance at Alfa Romeo has not drawn as much attention as either of these two, for obvious reasons. Gasly was squandering a race-winning seat until Red Bull showed him the door, and Kubica’s return to F1 generated huge interest.

Expectations of Giovinazzi were lower for the obvious reason that he’s a rookie (two 2017 starts notwithstanding) going up against a world champion. Yet 12 races in, the championship situation at Alfa Romeo arguably reflects worse on Giovinazzi than Red Bull’s does on Gasly. Kimi Raikkonen has scored all bar one of Alfa Romeo’s 32 points. Giovinazzi’s sole appearance in the top 10 contrasts with eight for his team mate.

Is F1’s points system are working against Giovinazzi? In Gasly’s case, even when he’s been lapped by Verstappen he’s been able to finish in the second half of the points places. Perhaps an extremely congested midfield and a points system which only awards the top 10 finishers is amplifying what is in fact a slender gap between Giovinazzi and Raikkonen.

This isn’t really borne out by the data. Although Giovinazzi has seen the chequered flag at every race bar Silverstone, it’s not as if he’s regularly been finishing on Raikkonen’s tail, just outside the top 10. There are too many 15ths and 16ths in his results so far.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Earlier in the season Giovinazzi seemed to be on an upward trajectory. He narrowed the gap to Raikkonen in qualifying, made his Q3 debut in Azerbaijan and beat his team mate to eighth on the grid – only too pick up a penalty for a power unit change. Nonetheless by Austria he had finally silenced the pesky questions about when he was going to break his duck.

Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo, Silverstone, 2019
Giovinazzi spun out at Silverstone
“I think the pressure was coming more from you guys,” he joked after finishing 10th at the Red Bull Ring. “Every race weekend it was ‘when are you going to come the first point?’.

“Finally we got this. I was relaxed because the [performance] was improving race by race. Now we have this point we need to keep working hard and be there every race weekend.” However the points haven;t kept coming,

Giovinazzi’s qualifying performances have reflected better on him. This is to be expected: Raikkonen’s strength has historically tended to be his race pace rather than outright one-lap speed. Sure enough, Giovinazzi has usually trailed his team mate on Sundays.

The situation would look less serious for Giovinazzi had he been allowed to keep his best result to date. But his eighth place finish in Germany was lost when he was given a 30-second time penalty for a technical infringement which was out of his hands. Still, Raikkonen suffered the same fate, and he had finished ahead of his team mate.

Giovinazzi went into the summer break on rather a low ebb. As well as losing his points in Germany he spun at Silverstone and picked up damage at the start in Hungary which ruined his race. While Alfa Romeo has made progress in recent races, Giovinazzi doesn’t seem to have matched the gains Raikkonen has made with the car.

Based on his season so far it’s hard to make a strong case for Alfa Romeo giving Giovinazzi a second season, even though he’s up against one of the best in the business. He needs to start racking up the points regularly after the summer break.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

Kimi Raikkonen vs Antonio Giovinazzi: Key stats

Kimi Raikkonen vs Antonio Giovinazzi: Who finished ahead at each round

Kimi Raikkonen Q
Antonio Giovinazzi Q

Kimi Raikkonen vs Antonio Giovinazzi: Qualifying gap

Times based on the last qualifying round at each race weekend in which both drivers set a time

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

48 comments on “Giovinazzi: The other driver having a tough time against his team mate”

  1. To look at it in horribly contrived terms of comparison:
    Leclerc = Vettel > Raikkonen > Giovinazzi.

    As a Ferrari junior driver, surely Giovinazzi has to at least be on Raikkonen’s level to be considered for any kind of promotion. He certainly isn’t causing the stir that Leclerc did, but then Raikkonen is a more formidable opponent than Ericsson was. It’s also possible that Raikkonen is now performing at a far higher level than he was at Ferrari.

    Raikkonen has been one of the drivers of the season so far and the ‘Laps Ahead’ measure is a key one for me. He’s rarely found behind Giovinazzi; usually only during different strategies. Qualifying has never been one of Raikkonen’s strong suits.

    I think Giovinazzi is lucky there is no other obvious contender for his seat, or he’d be under much greater pressure.

    1. To be fair, I think Giovinazzi is Ferrari’s Albon/Kvyat, rather than their Verstappen. I doubt there was ever any real motivation for getting him in a Ferrari – they just needed another driver “on the books”, and with Mercedes laying claim to Russel and Ocon, McLaren having Norris, the pickings were a bit slim.

      1. I see what you’re saying, but I doubt Giovinazzi ever saw it like that. If he was destroying Raikkonen every week, we’d all be talking about him moving to Ferrari. As it is, he’ll likely stay a year or two before heading to Formula E or similar.

        1. …he’ll likely stay a year or two before heading to Formula E or similar

          I don’t even think he’s FE material, tbh. Look at Massa or Vandoorne, they were both much better than Giovinazzi, but failed to make any impact on FE this year.

          1. To be fair, Massa is aging, and Vandoorne was at least decent in qualifying, but it seemed like the whole HWA team had an absolute nightmare, the car didn’t work for about half the season. New teams find it tougher.

      2. Giovinazzi is italian, probably the only reason he is in the Ferrari programm and in a Ferrari powered car.

      3. Kvyat is miles better then Giovinazzi. They have pretty similar cars this season but Kvyat scored way more points.

    2. All of this is too harsh on Giovinazzi. The guy is a rookie and he’s fighting a WDC no less. He’s certainly no Hamilton, but he’s not doing that bad, he deserves some time to show what he has.

  2. The statistics are clearly in Räikkönen’s favour; unless Giovinazzi can improve vastly in the latter part of the season I don’t see him keeping his place in F1 (unless there is huge backing from Ferrari or a sponsor). Meanwhile, this is probably the best Kimi has been since some parts of his Lotus stint in 2012/2013: thrashing his teammate and getting the maximum out of the car constantly.

    1. I think the bigger reason Giovinazzi will keep his seat, is that there aren’t really alternatives. Schumacher isn’t exactly setting the world alight in F2, nor are any of the other FDA/Sauber drivers. If they do replace him, it’ll have to be from elsewhere, but even there, the only option I’m really seeing is De Vries, unless they manage to prise Perez from Forc..Racing Point.

    2. @kaiie I don’t see Giovinazzi keeping his seat either, he’s just a waste of points. Alfa has a great car, definately not 7th in the championship, and still with just one car scoring they are only 11 points behind 5th place STR.

      Ferrari will most likely want to bring Mick Schumacher to fill Kimi’s seat after he (probably) retires at the end of 2020, but I guess they’ll need to do it sooner than expected to replace Giovinazzi. Or use Werhlein for the time being.

  3. I doubt there was ever any real motivation for getting him in a Ferrari

    I can’t remember the last time Ferrari hired their own academy drivers.

    1. should be a reply to @joeypropane

    2. Leclerc

    3. Would’ve been Bianchi first… Imagine a Bianchi/Leclerc line-up at Ferrari – wouldn’t match Mercedes still, but it’d be very young and exciting!

      1. Bianchi is overrated.

        1. Clearly trying to stir the pot you are sir.
          Unless you started watching F1 after Bianchi was gone. Bianchi was very very good.

  4. Given it’s his first year in F1 I think they’ll cut him some slack and he’ll get a second years drive as being up against a WDC in your first year is a big ask. There have been quite a few races as well where a couple of tenths could mean 6-8 places difference in Q2 so being even slightly slower than you teammate is a huge penalty in grid slots this year.

    Not every driver comes into the sport and immediately hits it running and long term if he’s a capable number 2 that might be all Ferrari are looking for.

  5. On one hand, he’s up against one of the more experienced drivers in the form of Kimi.

    On the other hand, when you look at the other other rookies and young drivers who at the very least are matching their team mate in some races and not far behind in others, it’s hard to be positive about Giovinazzi’s perfomance this year in any area.

    At the very least, he should be a lot closer to Kimi, but he’s not and that’s not reflecting well on him

  6. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    13th August 2019, 14:03

    This won’t surpise anyone that I say this, But i think that in his most recent year, Ericsson was quite clearly better than Giovinazzi is now. The car is significently better this year and even if Giovinazzi got the points in Germany, he still would have no more points than Ericsson at this stage last year. Given how heavily critisized Ericsson was, I think it is clear Giovinazzi is very poor. I don’t think Kimi doing very well explains everything. It is obvious enough that the car is much better this year.

  7. Good lord the knives are out this season aren’t they….
    Much slicing and dicing.
    Still got no racing.

  8. Those 2017 rides were awefull trashed the car everytime… I thought that was a really bad drivers and the last i would see him.
    In 2019 he gets a seat i was thinking pay driver! ( still thinking that btw) halfway season stil a really poor driver probaly this season his last (I hope)

  9. Has Kimi stepped up his game after those years at Ferrari, or is Giovinazzi actually that bad?
    Kimi is (arguably) the most consistent driver in F1; he never makes mistakes but isn’t astonishingly fast imo. At Ferrari we saw that Seb was quicker in general, but made way more mistakes.

    Even though it’s GIO’s first full season he should be at least on par with Kimi to be considered for a future drive in the top team or a longer stay that 1/2 years in F1. If he doens’t step up his game, it is only a matter of time that he will be replaced by Schumacher, who probably needs another year in F2.

    1. @jesperfey13 – My observation, not backed up by any relevant examples, is that Kimi is unburdened at Alfa, and with that freedom is driving better.

      At Ferrari, he was impeded or hamstrung by strategy calls, whereas here he’s the top dog.

      1. He aint burdened by having a better teammate.

        1. Mark in Florida
          14th August 2019, 2:44

          @rethla Ha, that’s funny. Sums it pretty well in my opinion. Gio is really suffering in comparison and we are hammering him for falling short. This is a tough crowd.

  10. Looking at qualifying pace (his Baku performance aside) his pace is pretty good!

    So not time to panic just yet!

  11. Kimi is the number one driver. He probably gets the better things the team can provide.

    But Giovinazzi has been much poorer than Norris, for example. He already made a lot of avoidable mistakes, doesn’t look consistent and consistently quick and looks even worse on sundays compared to Kimi.
    He actually reminds me of Vandoorne compared to Alonso. even their age is similar.

    They probably are already looking for another driver. He better raise his game for the remainder of the season.

    1. Yes I think you are right in your assessment. Gio is to Kimi what Van was to Alonso. I would say Vandoorne is the better of the two and would fare better in the Alfa. But I can’t see Alfa going after Stoffel!!

      Seems Ferrari are hell bent on keeping Gio on their books […for reasons of their own] and appear to be sponsoring him with hefty payments to Alfa. So for that reason alone, Vasseur will keep him for next year!

  12. the qualifying pace improvement looks promising, altough he’s quite much beaten, Kimi ages well :)
    and the points system is not the best to express backmarker results
    if it d be changed to express it, that ‘d change the historically quite big achivement of scoring
    first points at F1. altough its just matter of evaluating things so i’d like a more fair point’s system,
    i could imagine other changes that’d improve the point’s system
    altough Ecclestone gone, Americans are in so may happens.

  13. His form is currently not satisfactory at all. That might be expected after 2 years sabbatical of active racing.
    I don’t expect him to score half as many points as Kimi, but he really need to get up to pace and fight for points more regularly. Alfa shouldn’t be fighting Haas, they should’ve been fighting Renault / Toro Rosso

  14. Eh, I think your being harsh. He was very very unlucky in the first few weekends (the team even publicly apologised to him) and since then has been as quick or quicker than Raikkonen quite often. Starts are a weak point, tyre management too, but both will get better with more racing. I hope he gets another season and think he will.

    1. * you’re, damn it

  15. All this talk about Giovinazzi and how poorly he is doing, but not too much mention of what a great job K.R. is doing.
    Based on points and standings, it looks like Alfa R. got a bargain there.
    Second half of this season, my guess is more of the same. Go Kimi….
    What makes little or no sense is the background noise about increasing the number of teams in F1 and every where you look, there are drivers either getting the boot, being threatened with the boot, but surviving only because there doesn’t appear to be enough talent to fill the 20 seats on offer. With a separate chorus lamenting the lack of opportunities.
    It can’t be that F-E is hoovering up all the useful available drivers…. or is it.?

    1. Yes, it shows what a class act Kimi is come race day, especially when he’s not having to drive sub-optimal strategies for Ferrari to help Vettel

      1. p.s. Remember when the Leclerc/Raikonnen switch was announced how so many people were complaining that he should’ve just retired to make more space for promising young drivers. Well he’s proved them wrong already and I hope he stays for a few more years yet, no need to prematurely retire if he still enjoys it and performs. The best of the current youngsters are already in F1 anyway, except Ocon.

    2. Jose Lopes da Silva
      13th August 2019, 23:24

      “there doesn’t appear to be enough talent to fill the 20 seats on offer”

      The 11th of current GP2 championship is mentioned 3 times in this page, and the 1st only once. There’s plenty of talent. But talent is not a main single criteria for choosing F1 drivers.

    3. I have to disagree. Off the top of my head, ALOnso, VERgne, Vandoorne, BUEmi,WEHrlein all should still be in F1 on merit, groving and learning and fighting for the spots in the top teams , a group that should expand from 1 to 5
      You have to get the mileage to be good at your job.

  16. RocketTankski
    13th August 2019, 21:10

    If they need to replace Gio, they could always try and lure a certain double world champion with Ferrari history and no current F1 drive.. I’m sure Brendon would be up for another go! :-D

    1. Brandon lol 😁

    2. Really? The guy that could barely compete with Ghastly?

  17. @keithcollantine What about Lance Stroll?! He is getting beaten badly in qualifying (and by a mediocre qualifier in Sergio Perez, at that) In races he’s also mostly outperformed by Perez although that isn’t as obvious because of a fluke result through strategy in Germany.

    I just don’t understand why Stroll isn’t looked at more critically by people. He’s clearly in a seat that he doesn’t deserve, which is especially painful with people who are actually any good like Ocon on the sidelines because of him.

    1. He isn’t looked at more critically because he is safe. His father owes the team and he can have poor results without being in danger of being fired. He can have poor results for years to come as long as Daddy owns the team.

      1. Jose Lopes da Silva
        13th August 2019, 23:27

        Yeah, pretty much that. We’re looking only at the 19 F1 drivers, not at team owners. Unlike McLaren, Brabham or Fittipaldi, Stroll is probably the first team owner who didn’t found it himself.

      2. I know his daddy owns the team but this reflects really poorly on F1, supposedly the pinnacle of motorsport with the 20 best drivers in the world. I think Liberty should jump in at some point here because the Stroll family is making a mockery of their flagship product.

    2. @jeffrey, I think that this is a series of articles going over each team and discussing drivers who do well/better and worse.

    3. See after a time Stroll Snr will have to look at things from the perspective of either an investor or a father or both. The end result of that decision could be either good or bad for Racing Point.

  18. My two cents:

    1) if you are the nr1 driver, you will always have an advantage. That goes for Vettel at Ferari the same way as for Kimi at Alfa. That greatly influences Race results. Especially If you compete for the title

    2) Kimi is fast and very consistend. Even super talents like Verstappen and Leclerc needed/need time to be on that level. Their is no way Gio will not make mistakes.

    3) in a tight midfield every mistake hurts.

    4) if your team makes mistakes, than you cannot perform.

    I do think, that Gio is okayish. But no match for Kimi. He might be the Enrique Bernoldi of modern F1.

Comments are closed.