A famous spiritual quote goes like this- “Blessed are those who have lost; for now they cannot be defeated anymore!” If you are a Lewis Hamilton at this point in time, a person for whom winning is a habit, you don’t want to dwell on this. For you’ve got everything to lose this year. A world championship is at stake. Remember, Sir Lewis is vying for an eighth crown and winning it in 2021 would be better than any other feeling in the world.
If you are Max Verstappen, who anyways hates losing, you don’t want to get into the philosophical depth of this quote, the Dutchman being the pretender to the throne.
But if you are Antonio Giovinazzi, you may want to exercise some focus on what this harmless statement is intending to say. Why?
For you’ve got nothing to lose anyway and the only thing that can happen to you from this point onward, is a gain, going up north where the path to progress is concerned.
Antonio Giovinazzi is not vying for a world title, something he’d fight for eventually one day, provided he gets a decent enough car and some valuable experience under his belt. But at the same time, Giovinazzi is not competing for a top-five finish as much as he and his fans would like to.
For pragmatism dictates, both Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi are currently engaged in a battle to improve their form and performance in a car which they seem to be dragging instead on racing with on a grid that has some ferocious competition from a packed midfield.
It’s an everyday duel out there for the alpha males of Alfa Romeo whose C41 has dented hopes to gather fighting results on a grid where the likes of Gasly, in an AlphaTauri, Vettel in an Aston Martin and Alonso in his Alpine are significantly quicker and more attacking.
But in the same world championship, being part of the same time and more importantly, forming a healthy bond, it’s interesting to note how Kimi Raikkonen’s existential struggle is quite different and varies in intensity than that of his teammate Antonio Giovinazzi’s.
Raikkonen, with 21 race wins, 103 podiums, and 46 fastest laps, which have yielded a two decade long run in the pinnacle of the sport is already a world champion. He’s honestly got nothing left to prove to anyone, with the possible exception of those ambitious up-and-coming drivers whose seat, one would note, the Finn is currently occupying.
He’s literally been there, done that and not done yet!
On the other hand, the famous product of the Ferrari Driver Academy, Antonio Giovinazzi has everything to play for in Formula 1.
Whilst he’s seeing helplessly even a rookie like Yuki Tsunoda registering performances like the P6 at the Hungaroring along with the likes of Russell and Latifi finally getting off in Formula 1, scoring much higher than the Italian himself, what’s not helping Antonio Giovinazzi is that he’s sitting on a solitary point, which he gathered six races earlier before entering the Hungaroring.
It’s almost as if the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix, where Antonio Giovinazzi wrestled with his C41 somehow putting it on a tenth, to get himself a point and in the wake of it, help Alfa Romeo open their account was a saga that happened a long time in the past.
For truth is, what’s followed thereafter has been a string of lowly scores, Giovinazzi finding himself penalised at the last GP where he’d fail to collect any points.
This is the same driver who, as of 2020, took just one race to get going. At the end of the 2020 Austrian GP, where Kimi was found struggling, it was the Martina Franca-born who collected 2 fighting points courtesy a mega P9 drive.
With a car that responded better to its aerodynamic ask and seemed to tick the right boxes where race-pace was concerned, Antonio Giovinazzi’s woes, much like Kimi’s, are exacerbated by a lack of car performance by the Alfa Romeo.
Which driver, it ought to be said, wishes to see just a solitary point from eleven Formula 1 Grands Prix.
A passion for speed, a nice race craft and a cool demeanour, Giovinazzi has it all. Moroever, with great performances at tracks such as Brazil’s Interlagos, where he bagged a career-best P5 in 2019 coupled with strong race results at Spielberg-bound Austrian GP of 2020, his first-ever F1 points, have proven that the Italian doesn’t beat around the bush.
He likes to go out there and express himself freely exhibiting a fine race craft that doesn’t have any space for dirty tricks and unsportsmanlike beahviour.
Yet, it’s helping no one, not his team, not Vasseuer, and definitely not his own future in F1 that Antonio Giovinazzi has so far been able to bag 1 point.
If this lacklustre run or dry run continues for a talented driver who’s seen the art of racing from very close quarters, thanks to his proximity to the Prancing Horse, it could spell some difficulties for a career that’s yet to bloom, one that’s already shown enough promise.
Honestly, not many may seem keen to conjecture but it’s hard to imagine how a young driver with quick reflexes like Antonio Giovinazzi, who for the first time in 2019 Singapore, led an F1 Grand Prix, cannot bag a podium if he’d have had Norris’ McLaren or Perez’ Red Bull instead of the vapid Alfa Romeo he’s currently paired with.
Someone who looks up to the Iceman himself and has gone on to defeat Raikkonen, fair and square in eight of the eleven F1 qualifying battles held so far, the Italian Jesus’s penchant for racing can be seen even as his race-day form looks anything but a blessed one.
For the sake of a young career that has a lot of promise and can weave infinite potential, Antonio Giovinazzi must unleash the more attacking side of him and gather far better results than he’s fetched so far.
The time might be running out but he’s got 10 more races, if not more, to prove himself!