Team mate battles 2020: The final score – Raikkonen vs Giovinazzi

2020 F1 season review

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Before this year’s heavily delayed championship began it seemed a realistic possibility that, come the end of it, Alfa Romeo would opt for an entirely new driver line-up for the 2021 F1 season.

Kimi Raikkonen remains a force to be reckoned with but he set a new record for starting more races than anyone else this year, so retirement is clearly in his near future.

Team mate Antonio Giovinazzi, meanwhile, had struggled to distinguish himself in the midfield during 2019. With no fewer than five Ferrari Driver Academy members vying for promotion from Formula 2 this year, he needed a good season in 2020 to justify his continued presence in Formula 1.

While the delay to the season’s start played to his advantage in that respect, Giovinazzi also measured up better against Raikkonen in every respect compared to last year, which he can be proud of. It may well have clinched his continued presence in the team while the FDA’s F2 champion Mick Schumacher makes his debut with Haas next year.

In outright qualifying pace, Giovinazzi narrowly tipped the balance in his favour, though like last year there was very little in it. Giovinazzi averaged just five hundredths of a second quicker than his team mate in representative sessions.

Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo, Spa-Francorchamps, 2020
Giovinazzi crashed under pressure from Raikkonen at Spa
In the races, Giovinazzi’s performances were notably better than last year, though he wasn’t always able to hang on to the higher places his consistently excellent starts propelled him to. He managed to score more points with what was clearly a much less competitive car than last year. As Alfa Romeo had only the eighth-quickest car on average, how well their drivers scored was strongly influenced by how many of those ahead of them retired, and Giovinazzi is somewhat flattered in this respect.

The general pattern from last year remained, however. Raikkonen was more impressive in the races than Giovinazzi. There were multiple occasions where he ran behind his team mate in the early stages but caught him, prompting the team to move Giovinazzi aside. At Spa the younger driver crashed heavily while Raikkonen was breathing down his neck.

Over the balance of the season, Alfa Romeo had two closely matched drivers, which can give them confidence they were extracting the best from the largely uncompetitive C39. The fact they were able to trouble the works Ferrari team on occasion bears that out, and justifies their decision to keep the same line-up for next year.

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Positive gap: Antonio Giovinazzi was ahead; Negative gap: Kimi Raikkonen was ahead

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Race-by-race results summary: Raikkonen and Giovinazzi

Kimi Raikkonen Q
Antonio Giovinazzi Q

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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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19 comments on “Team mate battles 2020: The final score – Raikkonen vs Giovinazzi”

  1. Another line up that was quite close together. I still think neither did a great job of it this year, maybe it was just the car (engine especially) not really giving them much to work with.

  2. I think Giovinazzi did a really good job actually, some superb laps in qualifying and although the races weren’t always great, his drive in Germany was one of the most under-rated performances of the year. Glad he’s getting another year – hopefully the car will be better.

    As for Kimi, he had some good races but also made more strange errors than a driver of his experience should – I got the feeling he lost focus a bit, being stuck towards the back of the field.

  3. Is the race equation 14 to 4? Including 2 DNFs for Kimi?
    That is a comprehensive demoliitiion job by RAI.
    Yes, GIO is a bit of a Mr Saturday. But on Sundays he stays home and potters about the shed and the garden.

    1. It’s pretty clear from the stats that Kimi did not demolish him at all. Kimi’s clearly in decline as he should have beat Giovinazzi in qualifying too over the year. I don’t blame Alfa for keeping him around to help with development but it might be the end for Giovinazzi soon too if he cannot beat Kimi at this stage of his career either.

    2. Is the race equation 14 to 4?

      It’s 9 to 4 (as per graph and table); not a comprehensive demolition, except for hyperbole lovers.

      1. We had 18 races

        1. Yes in 2004, when Massa beat Kimi 8:4.
          Again, not a ‘comprehensive demolition’.

          1. 1 Kimi was in McLaren in 2004, and 2 your sums need checking

  4. Why is Giovannazi such a forgettable driver? I can’t remember a single overtake from him since he’s been in F1.

    1. You’ve never seen his first lap overtakes? Gio is quite famous for gaining places on the first lap. Heck, Formula 1’s official Youtube Channel did a video on the Gio’s starts. Video link is down below:

  5. Giovinazzi, Raikkonen and Vasseur seem to get well together. Everyone’s working for the team. Three good men.

  6. Jamie Franklin
    15th December 2020, 16:18

    It’s a tricky one with Gio. It’s hard to know what level Kimi is operating at any longer and if you had a young driver you could confidently say a top level racer next to him (Russell, Leclerc), it would be interesting to see what these graphs would have looked like. I agree with Geoff though – a harmonious and a solid team.

    1. Vettel significantly beat Kimi , and now vettel is beaten significantly by Charles.

      Kimi also didn’t get younger. I really think he isn’t a high bar / benchmark anymore.
      We can conclude Gio isn’t all that special.

      1. @trib4udi
        Vettel beat Kimi, but was heavily favorited at Ferrari. The second driver’s treatment at Maranello is notorious, pretty much as it happens at Red Bull, so it’s not that significant.

        1. I have both these ideas going around my head i.e. Vettel being ahead of Raikkonen, but perhaps being favoured. Both are hard to measure.

          I would say that Giovinazzi needs to outperform his elder team mate in qualifying by an average of 2 tenths per lap and needs to make better in races. If he can’t do this next year, it’s curtains.

          Fantomius, I saw your comment below about Raikkonen being favoured in Sauber, but that is an Italian newspaper. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

  7. Maybe so, but remember that Hulkenberg and Perez didn’t have stellar first two seasons either, Hulk easily beaten by a very old Rubens and then barely ahead of Di Resta, Perez evenly matched with Kobayashi and they were absolutely adored by fans just because they were driving a quick car and got some lucky results. I would wait till GIO gets to drive against a mid-field level driver or another Ferrari junior, I think he will do very well because of his success in F2 in just his first season. I think Kimi is also driving notably better at Alfa, barely any mistakes unlike when he was at Ferrari when he was spinning the car in straights and crashing in the start all the time.

  8. Kimi showed some flashes of his former self, specially at Monza, but beyond that it was a forgettable season in which his decline have been very visible. Giovinazzi getting the better of him in qualifying is a testiment to him no longer having the speed to compete and yet he somehow makes a solid races without the pure speed.
    Giovinazzi had an okay season, though I dont see the reason for him still being in F1, when they could have tried Ilott for next season. Perhaps afraid Kimi would quit and Vasseur not having a backup plan?

  9. A more complete report would have signaled the frequent “mistakes” the pit wall made with Giovinazzi’s strategies, always favoring Raikkonen…
    Italian newspapers suggest someone inside Sauber’s management team does not like Gio at all (euphemism)

  10. Who would have thought that this was one of the better and more ‘fighty’ seasons for Kimi since a long time. I read his Finish biography (tough read), and could recognise the ‘racing above all’ Kimi this year. I’m glad that he chose to stick around for another season, and that’s the first time I say this since I forgot when.

    Giovanazzi was never an inspiring F1 racer/participant IMO. At least I saw a few decent actions this year. But not enough to get excited about or really care.

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