Giovinazzi set for Shanghai seat in Wehrlein's continued absence

By Harry West 4 April 2017 287
Giovinazzi set for Shanghai seat in Wehrlein's continued absence

Antonio Giovinazzi will line up on the grid for Sauber once again at the Chinese Grand Prix as Pascal Wehrlein continues his recovery from a back injury.

Wehrlein pulled out of the season-opening race in Australia after Friday practice, but Ferrari reserve driver Giovinazzi fared well as a late call-up.

The 23-year-old qualified 16th and placed 12th in the race, while team-mate Marcus Ericsson did not finish.

With Wehrlein still not feeling 100 per cent ready to race in Shanghai this weekend, Sauber confirmed on Monday that Giovinazzi will continue in his stead - news that was welcomed by former F1 driver Jarno Trulli, a compatriot of Giovinazzi's.

"The Italian flag is back to waving in F1," Trulli told Omnisport. 

"Ferrari dominated in Australia but finally an Italian driver is back in F1. I would like to give credit to Antonio Giovinazzi.

"When appointed as Ferrari third driver he did not think he could have raced straight away. He received the call on Saturday morning and as a good professional as he is he was ready for action.

"He made a fantastic job and during qualifying he was only one tenth behind his team-mate, who was more experienced than him.

"He finished 12th and this consolidates a good F1 career start.

"I wish him all the best and I sincerely hope he could have the opportunity to race for the whole season."

Wehrlein's injury was caused by a crash at January's Race of Champions.

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Harry West