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Giovinazzi expecting 'tough' start alongside Raikkonen at Sauber

Written by  Dec 06, 2018

New Sauber driver Antonio Giovinazzi is expecting a "tough" start alongside Kimi Raikkonen as he re-adjusts to racing in Formula 1 next year.

The Italian got the nod over Marcus Ericsson at the Swiss team but his promotion is really in place of Charles Leclerc with one seat reserved for a Ferrari junior.

He is under pressure to perform, however, after a disappointing end to a short stint at Sauber in 2017 standing in for Pascal Wehrlein, a period he claims won't offer much help as he prepares for his first full season.

"Unfortunately it's already a long time ago. It's the beginning of last year!" he said.

"It was not a full weekend [in Australia], it was only on Saturday. In China, I missed FP1 and FP2 because of the weather so I started again from FP3.

"It was difficult to approach, but fortunately next year will be a lot easier. I will have the winter tests in Barcelona and I will be a lot more ready when I arrive in Melbourne."

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The 2015 GP2 champion faces a stern test though up against Raikkonen, who is arguably performing as well as 39 as he did during his prime.

It will also be a great learning experience for Giovinazzi who has only raced once, at Le Mans this year, since his last outing with Sauber in Shanghai.

"I can't wait to be honest," he admits. "I miss the pressure of the race weekend and also the race on Sunday. I can't wait until next year for the real pressure.

"It will be quite tough for the first races. I have a world champion beside me, who has a lot of years in F1.

"I need to do my job, try to improve race-by-race, and we'll see at the end of the year if we did a good job or not."

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