The Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda team overcame tricky conditions at the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix with Pierre Gasly qualifying in ninth position. Yuki Tsunoda driving for the first time at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve circuit could only finish in fourteenth position.
The AlphaTauri team is in a tough fight for third position with the Scuderia Ferrari and McLaren F1 team. The Italian team has not maximized the point scoring positions it found itself in the first two races of the season. The team currently lies in fifth position in the constructors’ championship.
Guillaume Dezoteux, the Head of Vehicle Performance of the AlphaTauri team, was satisfied with the step forward made by the team from the practice sessions to qualification as they worked hard on setup changes.
Dezoteux said: “After a difficult Friday, the team have worked on extracting the most from our package for Qualifying today. In FP3 we saw we’d made a step in the right direction but getting the soft tyre to perform as we wanted was still a challenge. We made further adjustments to the car, as well as focussing on tyre preparation, for Qualifying and we continued to see progression with both drivers.
“Q1 wasn’t easy, with both Yuki and Pierre experiencing traffic alongside the difficult conditions. Yuki struggled a lot in Q2 and wasn’t able to make a lot of progress, unfortunately finishing in 14th. Meanwhile, Pierre was able to make it through to Q3 but never put the perfect lap together in the final session.
“Tonight, we will review the different race scenarios and the target will be to finish in the points. Last year Pierre had a solid race starting from the same position, so we are aiming to do this again. For Yuki starting further back, it will be more difficult, but we know he’s great at overtaking and hopefully he can make his way forward into the points.”
The AlphaTauri team needs Tsunoda to fight back in the race and both drivers to score points to hold their own in the tight midfield battle.