Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur refuses to blame driver Antonio Giovinazzi for costing the team points after he failed to follow the team’s orders in the Turkish Grand Prix.Kimi Raikkonen to pass him in the latter stages of the race, but refused. Raikkonen lapped several seconds quicker than his team mate before catching him, and although Giovinazzi increased his pace he remained shy of Raikkonen’s lap times.
Giovinazzi finished the race seven-tenths of a second by Esteban Ocon, who scored the final point. Vasseur admitted the team had missed an opportunity to score points because Raikkonen had been stuck behind his team mate.
However he was reluctant to blame Giovinazzi for costing the team what would have been its fifth points finish of the season. He said it was difficult for drivers to judge how far they could push their intermediate tyres on a drying track.
“Turkey was a tough race for the strategists and for the drivers to know exactly what is the right level of push you have to do,” he said.
Alfa Romeo’s drivers had been advised to protect their tyres particularly through the high-speed lefthander turn eight.
“We were trying to save the tyres and making a huge saving in turn eight,” said Vasseur. “And at one stage Kimi pushed much more and saw that we were able to keep the tyres [alive].”
Giovinazzi was told to “swap position with Kimi behind into turn one, he’s much quicker now”, while Raikkonen was advised “we will swap position at turn one”. However Giovinazzi never followed the instruction.
“We asked Antonio either to push or to let him go,” said Raikkonen. “He was probably too conservative but I don’t want to blame him.
“We had the discussion. He was a bit lost with the quantity of attack he has to put [in the tyres]. For sure they could be much faster and he was too conservative.”
Even after Giovinazzi picked up his pace, Raikkonen remained close behind him. “We lost the points, clearly, but I don’t want to blame Antonio,” said Vasseur. “We had the discussion, I think he was sticking to the plan and when we had the window to push more he took two or three laps to understand that he could push more and it is like it is.”
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