Giovinazzi 'quite happy' with 2019 progression after two years off track

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Antonio Giovinazzi says he was "quite happy" with how his performance progressed during his first full Formula 1 season last year.

2019 saw the Italian finally get his chance in F1 alongside Kimi Raikkonen at Alfa Romeo, this after spending two years on the sidelines as Ferrari third driver since finishing second to Pierre Gasly in GP2 in 2016.

Giovinazzi also had a bit to prove following two solid if unspectacular races standing in for Pascal Wehrlein at Sauber at the first two races of 2017, but early results were poor as he didn't score a point until Austria while Raikkonen was consistently in the top 10.

“I was improving race after race,” he told RaceFans reflecting on his season. “It was not easy to come back into the races after two years of stop. So my main target was to improve race by race.

“I had a tough first part of the season, but in the second part I think I learned and I improved and I grew up like a driver. This was one of my main targets.”

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The poor results and the sudden availability of Nico Hulkenberg led Alfa Romeo to consider Giovinazzi's future, particularly when he crashed out of a strong result on the penultimate lap in Belgium.

And team boss Fred Vasseur actually revealed that it was Antonio's reaction the next weekend at his home race in Italy, finishing ninth, which saved his seat.

“I think after Monza also my motivation went higher and higher,” Giovinazzi added. “During the second part of the season, I was quite happy with my performance.”

His and Alfa's stand out result came amid the late chaos at Interlagos where Raikkonen finished fourth and Giovinazzi fifth after Lewis Hamilton's five-second penalty dropped him from third to seventh.

“This was the best result for sure,” he said. “I had a few of them [which were] also good like Singapore, like Monza. Also Spa, before the crash, was a really great race.

“[In Brazil] we put it all together, we had also a little bit more luck, a few of the guys in front stopped so we gained position. So it was overall the best race.”