Actually, Giovinazzi had travelled to Melbourne simply as Ferrari’s reserve driver, but was ultimately called up to replace unfit Sauber racer Pascal Wehrlein.
“Antonio did an excellent job in Australia,” Trulli, the last Italian in F1 before Giovinazzi, told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“A good performance was not a matter of course,” the former Renault and Toyota driver added, “because he had to take over a car completely by surprise.
“But he was just a tenth behind his experienced teammate, Ericsson, and even beat him in the first qualifying segment, so he made a strong impression on me,” Trulli added.
“In the race he did a very mature performance and a good twelfth place,” he said.
Now, 23-year-old Giovinazzi, from Italy’s Puglia region, will again race for Sauber this weekend in China, and perhaps beyond.
“This (Melbourne) was the beginning of a promising formula one career,” said Trulli. “Now I hope that one day he will have the opportunity not only to do individual races, but compete for a full season.”
Meanwhile, Trulli said he was also happy to see Ferrari turn its promising winter season into victory over Mercedes in Australia two weeks ago.
“I had my doubts,” the 42-year-old admitted.
“I thought Mercedes had never completely revealed its cards in the winter. But Australia showed that we can look forward to a strong Ferrari.
“It was important not only for the tifosi that Ferrari can again win races, I can say that we will have an exciting world championship,” Trulli added.