F4 videos helped Giovinazzi pull off charging Imola start

Reviewing videos of Imola starts in other categories helped Alfa Romeo Formula 1 driver Antonio Giovinazzi to pull off a charging first lap in the Emilia Romagna GP.

The Italian, who on Friday was confirmed at the Swiss team for 2021, made up six places on the first lap, helped by some incidents ahead. He eventually finished in 10th place, logging his third points finish of the season.

With little to lose from the back of the grid, Alfa took a different route by putting Giovinazzi on soft tyres for the start, while the nine cars immediately in front of him were on mediums.

He outdragged Nicholas Latifi off the line, and then exiting the first chicane he passed Romain Grosjean and Lance Stroll when both ran wide, the latter after damaging his front wing.

At the exit of Tosa he gained two more places when Kevin Magnussen spun and he was also able to duck inside Alfa teammate Kimi Raikkonen. He then passed Sebastian Vettel into the following corner.

Giovinazzi has made a habit of gaining ground at starts in recent races.

“An amazing first lap, I gained six positions again,” he said. “Yesterday night I did again quite a lot of work watching all the starts, from Formula Renault, Formula 4, all the stuff I had here in the laptop. And I put it all together on lap one, a little bit of luck and everything, and this is it.

“We pushed quite a lot in the beginning of the race with the soft, and then we changed to medium, pushing until the end.”

Giovinazzi did not pit under the safety car but managed to hold onto his 10th place after the resumption, finishing just behind Raikkonen, who had undertaken an unusually long opening stint.

“It was a little bit tricky in the end, with the mediums they were quite old, and the temperature dropped. It was difficult to keep the people behind who were on softs.

“I did the maximum the keep all the cars behind, and I was in the points, so I was really pushing very hard. It’s a good thing to celebrate the renewal of the contract.

“I think it was all good. I think also with Kimi scoring points with two cars is something great for the team and Alfa Romeo.”

Alfa trackside engineering chief Xevi Pujolar agreed that Giovinazzi’s strategy had played out well.

“We were a bit on the aggressive side, not with Kimi, but with Antonio,” said the Spaniard. “But then we were trying to cover both ends, with Antonio we were covering the early pitstops, and then with Kimi the late ones, in case of different safety career scenarios.

“We were surprised when Antonio boxed quite early with the soft then people starting with the medium were covering us, trying to protect as well, and going with the hard.”

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