Puncture cost Alfa Romeo a points finish, says Giovinazzi

2021 Dutch Grand Prix

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Antonio Giovinazzi says his hopes of scoring points in the Dutch Grand Prix were dashed by a right-rear puncture just before half distance.

The Alfa Romeo driver started from a season-best seventh on the grid and was running in 10th place before his first stop. But just six laps into his stint on medium tyres, Giovinazzi was forced back into the pits after developing a puncture.

“We had a puncture on the rear-right, but we don’t know why,” he explained. “I think after that, the race was over because we’d done one stop more than the others and then it was just difficult.”

Giovinazzi believes that he would have been in contention to score at least a point, had it not been for the setback. “We were in the points at that moment,” he said. “So tricky to say, but up until that moment, we were in the points.”

Giovinazzi was involved in a frantic scrap on the opening lap, making minor contact with Fernando Alonso as the pair charged down to the high-speed Scheivlak corner.

“We were in turn three and then on the straight and then I had touch with Fernando,” he explained. “That was it.”

The first grand prix at the remodelled Zandvoort circuit saw few overtaking moves. Giovinazzi said passing was very difficult around the tight and twisty course.

“It’s difficult, especially to follow. Turns seven, eight, nine in high-speed was just terrible. No chance to overtake.”

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2021 Dutch Grand Prix

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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15 comments on “Puncture cost Alfa Romeo a points finish, says Giovinazzi”

  1. A slow puncture. This explains his lowly finishing position better.

    1. @jerejj It wouldn’t have needed any explaining if you’d watched and seen him pit about 5 laps after his first stop, because of the puncture, putting him back to about 18th.

      1. Indeed, that was very easy to see.

      2. @tflb @esploratore1
        The puncture was unobvious in his lap times. Sometimes unseen slow punctures can happen without immediately becoming obvious from the outside.
        @bascb

        1. Exactly @jerejj, I suspected something like that must have happened due to the awkward planning (but it could have been a flatspot or something too), but it wasn’t mentioned during the broadcast, so we learnt exactly why only now that the team/Giovanazzi confirmed what happened

    2. Yeah, I had been wondering about why he pitted relatively early after his normal pitstop again @jerejj. A real shame for Giovanazzi (and the team), he really looked deserving of a points finish this weekend.

  2. The squeeze from Carlos didn’t help Tonio either. In hindsight I’m sure he’d have just tried to follow him instead of fight for the position, as he was he was eaten alive by those behind him after he lifted to avoid a collision. The slow puncture rendered that moot, tho

    1. someone or something
      5th September 2021, 18:08

      Yeah, but hindsight is the key word here. The Alpines and Ferraris were squabbling for position, so there was a high chance of someone else slipping up and losing out to Giovinazzi. And that’s basically what happened to Alonso, just at the wrong moment, so that it ended up hurting Giovinazzi more.
      And apart from that, I’m not sure if he had the choice. It was so tight, and with the banked corners allowing different lines, anything but full send was basically an invitation for the cars behind.
      Would he have been able to score from 10th, without that puncture? Hard to say, but considering how fast and racy Pérez was late in the race, maybe not. Still, hugely disappointing Sunday after that qualifying masterpiece.

  3. This chap has absolutely no luck. If it’s not Alfa putting him on weird strategies, it’s the car or tyres letting him down.

    1. @tflb
      And himself with his relatively bad start. He had it close to a Russellesque weekend indeed: amazing on Saturday but a bit awkward on Sunday.

      1. @rodewulf Actually he had a decent start, but got chopped by both Sainz and Alonso during the course of the first lap. Still was running in a comfortable 10th place (net, after the stops) before the puncture.

        1. @tflb Yeah, not a bad start, but not an effective one either. Tonio’s launch was a bit slow and he doesn’t have the experience and the confidence that good starters have to find the best racing lines and then quickly seize the available gaps. But he can feel proud of himself for this weekend, even if he’s dropped by Alfa Romeo, he can leave with his head up straight given his recent improvement.

        2. someone or something
          6th September 2021, 8:46

          Yeah, nothing wrong with his start, really. Quite the opposite, he was actually in a good position to challenge Sainz for 6th, before Sainz and Alonso killed his momentum and allowed Ocon and Ricciardo through.
          It was just a pretty hectic first lap, as exemplified by Alonso, who started 9th, had contact with the car that started 11th (Russell) in turn 1, further contact with the cars that started 8th and 7th (Ocon and Giovinazzi), but found himself studying the details of the gearbox of the car that started 6th (Sainz) by turn 6. And that was Sector One.

          1. someone or something

            It was just a pretty hectic first lap, as exemplified by Alonso, who started 9th, had contact with the car that started 11th (Russell) in turn 1, further contact with the cars that started 8th and 7th (Ocon and Giovinazzi), but found himself studying the details of the gearbox of the car that started 6th (Sainz) by turn 6. And that was Sector One.

            It was thrilling indeed, and specially for Alonso who has taken maybe the highest risks on this race for his whole season up to now, particularly in the first lap as you mentioned. Come to think about it, that’s why Russell and Giovinazzi can’t do really good starts, they’re too conservative in lap 1. Being a split second slow in your launch and too careful in your positioning afterwards usually will make you stay the same or lose one or two positions, maybe even three or more if getting chopped by other drivers, the bold starters.

    2. Yes, doesn’t deserve to lose his seat at alfa imo, I’d keep him and get bottas (if it’s confirmed russell goes to merc), and get de vries at williams.

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