The Italian’s afternoon was badly compromised as he had to rely on manual signals from his pit board, which inevitably lacked the sort of detail required to properly manage his race.
It also contributed to him being one of the last drivers to pit in the rain in the closing laps, with only Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc coming in after him.
After losing grid positions with a gearbox penalty – which dropped him to 17th – Giovinazzi’s race went wrong on after contact with the Haas of Mick Schumacher left him in 19th at the end of the first lap. He was eventually classified 16th.
“I had contact with I don’t know who in Turn 2, and I lost a little bit of position there,” he said.
“I had no radio from lap one, so it was impossible to communicate with the team, and it was just a difficult race with the fuel saving.
“I tried to watch my pit on the main straight to see what I need to do, but without the radio it was just a mess.
“And then also with the rain in the end I had no communication. It was just a silence race for myself, so just a difficult race from lap one.
“It was also difficult to overtake, so I lost a lot of time there. Then when I was in free air the pace was good. But we lost a lot of laps.”
After strong qualifying sessions in the last two races at Zandvoort and Monza Giovinazzi needed a good race in Russia to keep his fading hopes of hanging onto the Alfa seat alive, and a crash in practice and his troubled Sunday afternoon did him few favours.
Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing C41, and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, run wide at the start as Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21, Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02, and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
“This weekend was a bit more difficult,” Alfa team boss Fred Vasseur told Autosport.
“We had an issue with the brakes yesterday. I don’t want to say that the race was bad at all, because we had too many issues. The first one was the contact at Turn 1.
“Mick hit the rear of Antonio, he went straight, he damaged the floor and then he was stuck behind the group.
“And then we lost the radio communication from the beginning, so we had to show the signal the old fashioned way.
“As soon as you have to give orders about management and so on, it’s difficult. You can’t give as many details as when you are speaking, and you can’t say that you have to save tyres or fuel at this level.
“He was not able to speak at all. And at the beginning we were able to speak with him, and then he lost completely the communication.”
Regarding Giovinazzi’s hopes of hanging onto the seat Vasseur said: “You don’t have to pay attention to one session.
“Over the last few weekends the pace was really good in quali in Zandvoort and Monza, and this weekend I think that the pace was okay on Friday.”