Kimi Raikkonen, Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo C38 presentation, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Team mate battles 2019: The final score – Raikkonen vs Giovinazzi

2019 F1 season review

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Last year Alfa Romeo – as Sauber – gave Charles Leclerc an opportunity to cut his teeth in F1, which he did while destroying team mate Marcus Ericsson.

For 2019 they welcomed an intriguing new driver pairing: Kimi Raikkonen, ejected from Ferrari to make way for Leclerc, and Antonio Giovinazzi, another Ferrari junior, but one who’d been stuck in a simulator with little opportunity to do any racing for two years.

The result was not a great surprise. Raikkonen, who appeared rejuvenated by the opportunity to get away from the pressures of Ferrari, was strong on race day and consistently added to Alfa Romeo’s points tally. But one-lap pace has never been his key strength and this was where Giovinazzi became an increasing threat as his experience grew.

The team carried their strong late-2018 form into the opening rounds. Raikkonen, the grid’s oldest driver, capitalised on the chances this offered, scoring points in the first four races of the season.

Giovinazzi only contributed a single point to Alfa Romeo’s tally prior to the summer break, losing his best result of that period to the team’s double penalty in Germany. It didn’t look like things were immediately going to get better after the summer break either, as he crashed out of the points at the end of the race at Spa.

Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo, Silverstone, 2019
After a shaky start, Giovinazzi raised his game
However he rebounded impressive, and added 15 points more over the remainder of the year, earning himself a return for the 2020 F1 season. The high point was a double top-five for the pair in Brazil.

As Giovinazzi turned the tables on Saturdays, the qualifying battle between the pair tightened up. He only lost out narrowly by the end of the season. Giovinazzi tended to make better starts than Raikkonen as well: Compared to his team mate he gained a place on average at each race.

Unfortunately for Giovinazzi as his performance improved the car fell away from the pace. Nowhere was this more obvious that at Yas Marina, where the team were a huge 1.8 seconds off their 2018 lap time.

Although Raikkonen finished the season with a significant lead in the drivers championship Alfa Romeo will be encouraged by Giovinazzi’s form following the summer break and hope that he can score points consistently right out of the gate in 2020. But Giovinazzi knows he needs to sustain the progress he’s shown into next season to prove he deserves a long-term future in F1.

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Kimi Raikkonen vs Antonio Giovinazzi: Key stats

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

Kimi RaikkonenQ
Antonio GiovinazziQ

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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. Negative indicates Kimi Raikkonen was faster, positive means Antonio Giovinazzi was faster

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Author information

Josh Holland
USA-based Josh joined the RaceFans team in 2018. Josh helps produce our Formula 1 race weekend coverage, assists with our social media activities and...
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...

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18 comments on “Team mate battles 2019: The final score – Raikkonen vs Giovinazzi”

  1. I’m not as enthusiastic as you, okay in qualifying Giovinazzi is very close to Raikkonen but in the race, even on the second half of the season, the gap remains huge: For example on the last three races, in Brazil he finishes just behind but in the USA, Kimi finishes ahead with more than 30 seconds, in Abu Dhabi, more than 40 seconds as he starts behind.

    Giovinazzi is usually fast at the beginning of the race with the soft tires but as soon as he comes back to the stand, he is very slow most of the time. In 18 comparable GP, he beats Kimi (40 years!) Only twice, including once for a pneumatic concern of Kimi (Canada, a visor protection gets into his wheel, which causes overheating, Alfa Romeo stops it once more), except big surprise, Raikkonen will be easily in front of next year on the season, however in qualifying, not impossible that Giovinazzi wins the duel. Sorry for my English, I’m French who uses google trad. :)

  2. For 2019 they welcomed an intriguing new driver pairing

    I guess we’re defining intriguing as “can’t stare away from the train wreck” now. A guy who’s been past it since 2014 and, as evidenced by the fact that he proved unable to beat the guy who’s been past it since 2014, a talentless scrub. The fact that Giovinazzi didn’t beat Räikkönen shows a) just how dire the situation in Ferrari’s young driver camp is that he still got a drive next year and b) that Giovinazzi will never amount to anything beyond lower midfield in the sport.

    1. Raikkonen ? World Champion. 103 podiums (5th all time). “a talentless scrub” ? and after, the guy dares to put … Ralf Schumacher in in profile picture.

      1. To add to that, ‘dire’ for this guy means 5 youngsters in the top feeder series and many more in the lower tiers. Just because Ferrari isn’t exchanging drivers in the junior teams as fast as Red Bull it doesn’t mean that their situation is dire, it just means that they actually care about their young drivers and want to make sure that they have a chance to show what they’re capable of.

      2. @xenn1
        In the top feeder series whose driver level I, as of 2019, rate as “trash”. There’s not a single driver in F2 that has any potential to become a good F1 driver and only like two or three have the potential to even become adaquate drivers. The rest is the kind of driver filler that completes a GT grid.

        Raikkonen ? World Champion. 103 podiums (5th all time). “a talentless scrub” ?

        I meant Giovinazzi. He should’ve had the edge on Räikkönen if I am meant to believe that he had any potential.

        1. @klon None of what you said in both of your comments are facts. just opinions which are all baseless as far as I’m concerned. not about Kimi, not the implications with regards to Vettel, not Giovinazzi and not the F2 drivers. Although I wouldn’t have extended Giovinazzi contract with hulkenberg available but that’s for just one simple factual reason: A driver who’s so far off Kimi on raceday cannot be potential for the Ferrari team. that doesn’t mean he’s not a legitimate f1 driver. But Vettel’s not past it, neither is Kimi although he’s not as fast as 12 years ago. And neither the young drivers such as Ilott and Schumacher and most definitely not Schwartzman are trash. far from it. And that’s an actual fact

    2. haha are you sure you’re talking about the right team?

  3. I haven’t been impressed so far. The guy was exciting in gp2 though and made Gasly sweat until the last race. But here so far it’s been only sparse flashes of brilliance and too often lost in the void. I hope he improves but I’m not sure I feel the hunger in him. It’s like he could do it but doesn’t care. Not saying it’s true of course, but it’s a feeling.

    Let’s see how he’ll fare next year! If he can put in a race what he can put on one lap it will be interesting.

  4. Alfa got their money’s worth with Kimi.
    His one lap pace? Suffered a wee bit as he aged, but I would like to remind Keith of Monaco 2005, as he seems to think Kimi was never a great qualifier.

    As for GIO, in spite of Keith’s many excuses, it remains a mystery why Alfa don’t swap him for a big money pay driver. More cash is clearly their biggest need, not doing right by a guy who may (or more likely may not), have potential. Even Kubica would be better, if he could bring a few quid.

    1. Monza ’05. Heaviest car on the grid due to one stopping after an engine penalty, still fastest in Qualy…

    2. He was never a great qualifier. When he was paired with Massa, this was more than evident.

      1. And yet when he was paired with Montoya who up to that point was considered a great qualifier himself this was less than evident.

        In fact up to mid 2008 so first season and a half vs Massa this was less than evident as well. They were essentially tied. Massa won the 2007 battle 9-8 IIRC. And Massa before his accident was considered a quick qualifier.

  5. I thought Giovinazzi was one of the most disappointing drivers on the grid. I remember seeing him spin off several times in a points position through nobody’s fault but his own, let alone being regularly outqualified by the oldest guy on the grid. Granted he’d been out of single seater racing for a while but despite that he’d been essentially a Ferrari driver academy member and simulator driver for Ferrari – as well as doing two races for Sauber. The minimum really was for him to be on Raikkonen’s pace or better and sadly for him he was regularly slower, unreliable, inconsistent and looked average compared to his team-mate. Still confused why they chose to retain him when Hulkenberg was available.

    1. @rocketpanda +1 Me too. Hulkenberg was a no brainer for them and they chose a driver who will never in a million years will be worthy of a seat in the main team. This decision is consistent with all the other awful decisions Ferrari had made this season so although I’m disappointed I’m not surprised

  6. José Lopes da Silva
    11th December 2019, 13:49

    “But one-lap pace has never been his key strength”

    Josh and Keith are, of course, considering F1 since 2007, when the tyre monopoly started and Kimi never looked as quick as before. There is an article on another F1 site that explains why and how Kimi stopped being as effective in one-lap pace from 2007 onwards.

    It’s almost 13 years since Kimi’s first win for Ferrari, so we can assume and understand this “never” statement.

    1. Kimi almost won Monza 2018 – his tires gave up on him after leading most of the race , and definately won USA 2018 .

  7. But Kimi got a pole at Monaco recently and at Monza – so the slowest and the faster GP’s . The issue with Kimi is that he is too sensitive to the car behavior. The issue with Giovinazzi isn’t that he lost to Kimi is that he lost many times by a huge margin even in days that Kimi complained about the car.

  8. Where did my comment go? Lol.

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