Alfa Romeo Formula 1 driver Antonio Giovinazzi says he felt “quite safe” while passing a crane during a Safety Car period in last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.

Giovinazzi was penalised by the stewards for driving too close to the recovery vehicle and received a 10-second penalty that was added to his race time.

Despite the penalty, Giovinazzi remained 10th in the final classification due to finishing over 17s clear of Romain Grosjean’s Haas.

Asked if he understood the penalty ahead of this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix, Giovinazzi replied: “Yeah they said I was too close to the truck that was recovering Russell’s car I think.

“To be honest from the outside, maybe it can look, but we are on a street track, really tight track, and I was on my target.

“For them I was too close, but for me it was to be honest quite safe. But they are the stewards. At least nothing changed on my result.

“I know but this is the reason. Maybe I could go a little bit slower, but I was on target. It’s a lesson for next time.”

Giovinazzi spent a number of laps in the lead of the race, becoming the first non-Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull driver to lead a full lap since Williams led the 2015 British Grand Prix.

Speaking about his stint in first place, the Italian said: “I have seen a lot of videos of that moment! It was really great.

“Of course we were in a different strategy, but to be honest, it was really nice when I saw on my board ‘P1’ - the last time was back in 2016 in GP2, so yeah it was really nice.

“I think in the end, we could have achieved a better result, but the safety car came out just two laps before I did the stop.

“A little bit of bad luck there, but otherwise I think it was a good recovery to put the Softs in the end of the race before the Safety Cars came, because I think it was the best tyre in that moment.

“We took one point, so it’s good for me, good for the team. I think now we are in a good mood, and we need to continue like this also in Sochi.”