2021 F1 driver rankings #15: Antonio Giovinazzi

2021 F1 driver rankings

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Antonio Giovinazzi endured a frustrating start to his third (and potentially final) season of Formula 1.

Antonio Giovinazzi

Beat team mate in qualifying15/21
Beat team mate in race10/20
Races finished21/22
Laps spent ahead of team mate466/1181
Qualifying margin-0.28s
Points3

He ran in the top 10 in Bahrain but a slow pit stop ended his hope of scoring points. He missed another chance to bag his first points of the season at Imola, where he held 10th after the red flag period but was forced into the pits by rising brake temperatures.

The fates aligned against him in Spain as well where he gambled on an early pit stop during a Safety Car period only for the team to discover one of his replacement tyres was flat. His cursed day continued when he returned to the track and was given the wrong lap time delta information, delaying him further.

The upshot was Giovinazzi – and Alfa Romeo – could have scored their first points of the season much earlier. These were potentially valuable points lost in a year where the team totalled just 13 – 10 less than eighth-placed Williams – and Giovinazzi ended the season seven behind his team mate.

Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021
Giovinazzi endured miserable luck early in the year
But over the balance of the season it was much more than just misfortune which kept Giovinazzi from matching Kimi Raikkonen, who he was paired with for the third season in a row. Despite conclusively out-performing his team mate on a Saturday, and therefore starting ahead of him more often than not, Giovinazzi simply failed to capitalise on his points-scoring opportunities often enough.

His qualifying performances deserve highlighting. Driving one of the three slowest cars, Giovinazzi was always at risk of eliminating in Q1, yet went out just six times, just three more than the much lauded George Russell. He beat Raikkonen 13-6 over the year.

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While Raikkonen never made it into Q3 once, Giovinazzi got there four times. He did so in Monaco, one of his best weekends of the season and despite being leap-frogged by Esteban Ocon during the race Giovinazzi delivered his first point of the season with 10th. However he only added to that tally once more before the season ended.

However Raikkonen’s superior race pace often made the difference between the Alfa Romeo pair on Sundays. That, plus Giovinazzi’s occasional misfortunes and errors, left him behind his team mate in the standings at the end of the season.

Despite a crash in Q1, Giovinazzi rose to 11th at Baku, while Raikkonen bagged a point. Giovinazzi collected penalties in the Austrian and Hungarian grands prix, the latter particularly ill-timed on a weekend where the retirements of many quicker cars presented a valuable points-scoring opportunity.

At Monza, Giovinazzi squandered a hard-won chance to add more points. Having made it into Q3 again on Friday and risen two places to eighth on the grid in sprint qualifying, an unnecessary first-lap collision with Carlos Sainz Jnr ended his chance of a top 10 finish at home.

That weekend was the second in a row where Robert Kubica substituted for the Covid-struck Raikkonen and finished just one place behind Giovinazzi. While the Monza result was largely on him, at Zandvoort luck was again not on Giovinazzi’s side: He qualified a fine seventh but slipped back in the opening laps, then collected a puncture which left him 14th, lower than he deserved.

He wasted a chance to grab points at Monza
Then Raikkonen returned and immediately delivered eighth place in Sochi, while Giovinazzi was clipped by Mick Schumacher at the start and laboured away with a non-functional radio which left him vulnerable when the rain fell. On a damp track at Istanbul Raikkonen was clearly quicker but Giovinazzi was reluctant to heed his team’s calls to let the other Alfa Romeo by. That likely cost the team a point.

The Mexico round began promisingly for Giovinazzi as he briefly got between the Ferraris at the start. He was left fuming after an early pit stop dropped him back into traffic and Raikkonen added more points while Giovinazzi recorded his third consecutive 11th place. His wait for a second points finish finally ended in Saudi Arabia, where he made it to Q3 and came home ninth despite running off at turn four.

There’s no doubt both Alfa Romeo drivers had the potential to score more points during 2021, and that Giovinazzi was ill served by luck on occasions. But his team mate often showed the car had more pace in it on race day, and a couple of ill-timed errors by Giovinazzi wrecked his better chances to score points.

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What’s your verdict on Antonio Giovinazzi’s 2021 season? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than? Have your say in the comments. Add your views on the other drivers in the comments.

2021 F1 season review

[catlist id=48242 numberposts=5 excludeposts=this]Browse all 2021 F1 season review articles

Author information

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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35 comments on “2021 F1 driver rankings #15: Antonio Giovinazzi”

  1. Strange placing, definitely deserved to be above Kimi – he demolished him in qualifying pretty frequently, and while he didn’t perform particularly well in races, he was hampered by luck and bizarre strategies much more often than his teammate. Also, Ricciardo is looking like being too high up…

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      10th January 2022, 13:01

      @tflb fair points, I agree. Ricciardo is definitely going to end up higher than he should

      1. Compare what Ricciardo is up against. He is up against one of the best drivers of the year. No way he should be this low after winning a race.

        1. @Janith Norris was very good, yes, but Ricciardo was totally demolished pace-wise. Yes he won a race – one swallow doesn’t make a summer though. He continued to be extremely poor after that – not much sign it wasn’t a one-off.

          1. Absolutely, winning a race shouldn’t be a free out of jail card, he performed well that race but then pretty much not any more.

    2. I’m sorry for Tonio, he showed speed but lack of racecraft and team spirit, even with his side of the garage. Clearly a new face and energy was needed for 2022, and the reset may be good for him too.

    3. Also the Saterday result isn’t important it’s the Sunday who count and there he failed to much compared with Kimi.

      1. @macleod Yes he didn’t often make the most of opportunities, but also he had much worse luck than Kimi, and the team seemed very eager to put him on bizarre strategies. Several times he was running well ahead of Kimi only for the strategists to put him on a ridiculous tyre strategy.

    4. I suspected there would be a Kimi factor involved in Keith’s calculations.

      I don’t think there is any justification for ranking Gio behind Kimi – in fact Keith’s own assessment of him doesn’t give any convincing examples of Kimi being better, other than him having a bit more luck on raceday.

      I’m not going to claim Giovinazzi is a special talent that should stay in F1 – he isn’t – but what is the yardstick for the ranking against Kimi? Does it literally come down to Kimi scoring more points?

      I wonder how much higher Kimi will be in the list.

  2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    10th January 2022, 13:12

    While Raikkonen never made it into Q3 once, Giovinazzi got there four times. He did so in Monaco, one of his best weekends of the season and despite being leap-frogged by Esteban Ocon during the race Giovinazzi delivered his first point of the season with 10th.

    This stat makes me seriously wonder why Giovinazzi is no longer driving in F1. He put an Alfa into Q3 4 times. This year was such a competitive season especially in the midfield and it makes those 4 Q3 entries even more impressive.

    If that’s not a stat that gets you a seat, I don’t know what is.

    1. He was allready 3 years there and to be honest he didn’t have the talent who is behind him coming up. (like Leclerc, Schumancher, ect.) He never gave the feeling he is a talent who would impress in a top team.

    2. Qualifying is not everything, and I agree with placing him behind raikkonen since race pace are more important, even including the bad luck he had.

    3. @freelittlebirds does that not depend on how exactly you view the performance of the C41 to begin with though? There does seem to be a group that takes the position that the performance of the C41 wasn’t as weak as it first looks, and that the team was being let down by both of their drivers performing below expectations.

      There is an attitude that Kimi, now being well into his 40s, peaked many years ago and has declined quite markedly in his abilities, and thus there is an expectation that Giovinazzi should have been significantly outperforming Kimi in terms of pace. As such, that qualifying performance isn’t considered quite as impressive – rather, there seems to be an attitude that it’s more of a bare minimum of what was expected of Giovinazzi, if not an underperformance.

      Furthermore, as others have noted, even if Giovinazzi had some high points in terms of qualifying, his race pace was very disappointing. Despite qualifying ahead of Kimi more often than not, when it comes to race performances, Kimi spent more laps ahead of Giovinazzi and finished more races ahead of Giovinazzi (10-8 in Kimi’s favour) – whilst it is true that some of that was due to factors outside of his control, there is a feeling that there were still too many races where that pace advantage over a single lap turned into a performance deficit in race trim.

  3. @thegianthogweed won’t like this!

    I would put Giovinazzi marginally ahead of Raikkonen too.

  4. I cannot believe that there isn’t a single mention about any of the bad strategies he was given.

  5. Strange to hear comments on Gio’s ranking. The biggest statistic that matters here is points scored and that’s a reflection of everything about the driver in terms of of skill, tyre management and also maximizing his opportunities. That itself BB is almost 4 to 1 Kimi vs Gio ( Kimi had 2 points disallowed in Imola.
    Starting grid position means nothing if you finish out of the points position. No way Kimi is behind GIO

    1. Absolutely, qualifying is only important if you make use of that in the race, otherwise could just skip quali and start last, if you have mazepin-like race pace (not saying giovinazzi did).

    2. I wished you had let Keith know this earlier, so that he could have saved himself the effort of ranking all 20 full-time drivers on the grid.

    3. Then we should look at the final drivers standing, no need for any lists if points are the only valid factor. I think we know better when it comes to F1, where there are so many factors involved (including even team orders which affect the points balance greatly). I mean, I don’t think that Russel for example did as well as his points score shows (relative to car performance). Actually, he got points for qualifying (that we say doesn’t matter).

  6. I wonder if he will get another opportunity in F1. I’d like to see him against a different teammate.

    1. @Janith Realistically, a 2023 return is a near-must as drivers generally haven’t returned racing in F1 after more than a single season away unless they’ve achieved decent success previously. Presently, I can’t see him becoming a regular driver again, given limited options. The only two slightly realistic ones (AM & Williams) probably have other drivers ahead in priority order if lineup change(s) occur, although stranger things have happened. Time will tell.

  7. someone or something
    10th January 2022, 14:07

    Races are where the points are scored. Apart from a fair share of bad luck and a few mistakes, there have just been too many times he slipped down the order at the start for no obvious reason, or lacked the pace over a full race distance to be a points contender.
    His qualifying pace may have proven that he deserved to be in F1, but in comparison to his team mate, who was clearly years past his expiry date, it has become painfully obvious that Giovinazzi wasn’t complete enough as a driver to score the points the car was capable of, however few they may have been, or to punch above his weight over an entire race weekend at least once.
    All in all, I can’t blame Sauber for replacing him, even though they didn’t quite go for the most inspiring line-up for 2022, either …

    1. someone or something
      10th January 2022, 14:08

      originally meant as a reply to @freelittlebirds
      But I guess it sort of works as a standalone comment as well.

  8. I think the only way for him to move forward in F1 was to comprehensively beat Raikkonen – who arguably wasn’t at his 100% best, but in 3 years he never really did. Qualifying he occasionally beat him but in the races you’d bet on Raikkonen to take the points. Several times over his career I’ve watched him spin off in points paying positions largely all by himself; arguably his lows outweighed his highs. Saying he was bad is unfair, but he wasn’t good. He was decent but this seemed to be his level.

  9. Curious to see where Bottas ends up after his dismal performance this year. In my opinion he belongs in this bottom quartet

    1. Guessing he and perez should be between top 10 and top 15.

    2. But I’m pretty sure ricciardo and raikkonen at least are coming before them.

    3. So many don’t really factor in who Bottas is up against. He hasn’t been at his best this year, and neither has hamilton. But there is no doubt that both hamilton and Verstappen are either the 1st or 2nd best drivers this year, and nobody else was even close to them overall. Bottas wasn’t as bad as he looked, and comfortably beat hamilton a few times, and did at least manage to beat Verstappen convincingly on one occasion.

      Most on another forum I go on are rating Bottas just inside the top 10 (and most seem to rate perez behind him for example too) many also rate russell 1 place lower.

      Lets also remember that 2018 was clearly a weaker year from bottas than this one. He was rated 11th then. While we need to take other drivers into account, I don’t think he was anywhere near bad enough to be rated in the bottom third of the grid.

      1. @thegianthogweed

        Bottas probably was overrated in previous seasons and underrated now, because Lewis stepped up his game due to Max. So Bottas looks worse in part due to his team mate having to step up his game.

  10. His races in Zandvoort and Monza were representative of what his career has been. Very good quali performances thrown away on Sunday due to either mistakes or bad luck.
    I can live with that rank

  11. @keithcollantine Should there be a different ranking for teams as well. Antonio might be higher on this list without Alfa’s mistakes. Of course the driver is the one on the spotlight is better remembered for a mistake than his/hers team.

    My 2021 F1 team rankings would look something like this

    10. Alfa Romeo – Two good drivers but bottling up some valuable points againts Williams
    9. Haas – Some serious communication problems between drivers and engineers
    8. Aston Martin – I don’t know how they were able to build a car so slow
    7. Williams – Solid season
    6. Alpine – They put all their eggs on one spanish basket and next year is what counts. This year some great results but still a far off where they want to be
    5. Mclaren – Again small step forward from last season but only 1-2 in a season doesn’t tell the whole story
    4. Alpha Tauri – They worked almost perfectly with Gasly. On the other side of garage things didn’t go as well
    3. Ferrari – As Mclaren making some steps closer to the top 2. Strong driver line-up but they need to put all the pieces in the right place inside the team. Made one of the biggest gains when compared to 2020.
    2. Mercedes – 8 championships in a row is mega. But small cracks are starting to appear on that shining silver star.
    1. Red Bull/Honda – They finally (not since 2013) had a package capable of winning. They did it by a skin of a teeth.

    1. It’s not a bad idea, but I disagree with the rankings, example I don’t see how haas can not be last, the speed was absolutely terrible, and when you say aston built a slow car, I don’t know how the haas could be described then.

      I’d have put mercedes at top for having the best car and best number 2 driver and mclaren 4th cause they were extremely competitive at times, obviously will look a lot like the constructor’s championship standings, but I don’t see how performance wise these teams shouldn’t be where they are.

      Maybe williams should’ve been behind alfa performance wise.

  12. Giovinazzi did impress me a couple of times throughout 2021, he isn’t entirely without talent. He reminds me of Romain Grosjean in his early years.

    1. That’s not a good comparison. Given Giovinazzi is someone with 21 career points while Grosjean with Lotus has 10 podiums in his best days. I mean no one gets to F1 nowadays without some talent(including Mazepin). But I feel like to truly judge Giovinazzi he should have been given the opportunity with a different teammate.

  13. If one win means so much that it can supersede a vast majority of races (with poor performances) across the season (read Daniel R), then Pastor Maldonado’s win is surely underrated ?? Or is this site overrating Daniel ?

    Given the competition and machinery they had, Antonio was in no way worse off than Daniel

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