Alfa Romeo's Giovinazzi had damaged F1 car in Australian Grand Prix

Antonio Giovinazzi's Australian Grand Prix was compromised by two pieces of damage to his Alfa Romeo Formula 1 car

Alfa Romeo's Giovinazzi had damaged F1 car in Australian Grand Prix

The F1 returnee sustained the floor damage at the start when he ran over debris from Daniel Ricciardo's Renault, and then at Turn 9 on the opening lap he had contact with the McLaren of Carlos Sainz Jr that damaged the front wing.

Thereafter Giovinazzi struggled for pace, and ended up holding up a train of cars while running until lap 27 of 58 for his first pitstop.

He lost around five seconds at his pitstop while the team made adjustments to balance the car, and eventually finished a distant 15th - ahead of only the Williams drivers. Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was eighth.

"I had damage on the front wing from lap one, we did a touch I think with a McLaren," said Giovinazzi.

"After that it was just a difficult race, especially on the first stint with the first tyres.

"Then on the pitstop we tried to repair the front wing a little bit to not lose too much time.

"In the end I think the pace was better, but the car just had a lot of damage.

"We need to focus on the next rounds."

Alfa team boss Frederic Vasseur said he was encouraged by Giovinazzi's weekend, and especially qualifying.

The Italian was fourth in the first session with a time that would have got him into the top 10 had he repeated it in in Q2.

"Antonio did very well in Q1," Vasseur told Autosport. "But in the race he had contact on the first lap. He had a loss of downforce, and it was more or less done.

"He started with the medium tyre and he had to survive a little bit and hope for the safety car or something like this. But he did a good job."

Vasseur was encouraged that Alfa was in the thick of the midfield battle overall, with Raikkonen crossing the line just behind Nico Hulkenberg's Renault and within sight of the Haas of 'best of the rest' winner Kevin Magnussen.

"It's close, I think. It's difficult from the pitwall because you have to focus on your car, but I think it was a mega race from P7, Hulkenberg, down to P11," Vasseur added.

"After the second week in Barcelona we were not very optimistic, and in the end we were quite close to catching Hulkenberg in the last laps.

"We will have to see in Bahrain, it's a more usual track. If you look at last year, what happened in Melbourne and what happened in Bahrain, it was absolutely not the same story."

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