Yuki Tsunoda enjoyed his Friday at the Red Bull Ring, with the Japanese racer ending inside the top six in both free practice sessions.
The Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda driver ended the morning session an impressive fifth, and he followed that up by posting the sixth fastest time in the afternoon, less than nine-tenths of a second off the best time of the day set by Lewis Hamilton.
Tsunoda says the team have been able to identify things that they struggled with in last weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix at the same circuit, and coupled with the progress made, he was happy with his own mistake-free day in Austria.
“We’ve had a decent day and are happy that we’ve maintained the pace from last week,” said Tsunoda. “We have worked hard on our longer running, as that was something we found we struggled with during the race, and I think this has been really positive.
“They weren’t the easiest conditions out there, the circuit is much colder this week and then we had some rain towards the end of FP2.
“My main objective today was to gather as much data as possible ahead of Qualifying and the race, by slowly building up my lap times and I’ve achieved that without making any mistakes, so I’m pleased with that.”
“We spent time working on our long-runs and trying to understand the tyres” – Pierre Gasly
Team-mate Pierre Gasly also ended inside the top ten in both sessions, but for the Frenchman it was a day of catching up after missing second practice seven days ago and crashing out of last Sunday’s race on the opening lap.
Gasly placed ninth in the morning and seventh in the afternoon, but he was focused a lot on understanding how to get the most out of his tyres having lost significant track time last weekend.
And the Frenchman says there were plenty of positives to take away from Friday’s running, with the short run pace appearing to be as strong as it was last weekend at the same circuit.
“I was playing catch-up a little bit today, having missed FP2 last time out and obviously the race, so we spent time working on our long-runs and trying to understand the tyres,” said Gasly.
“I think there were a lot of positives today and the pace is still there. However, we were slightly struggling in these different conditions, so we have a few things to look at tonight with the engineers and then we can make some changes for tomorrow.”