Formula 1

Yuki Tsunoda: “It’s very frustrating to just miss out on points” in Bahrain

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Credit: Peter Fox / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

The season-opener of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship saw Scuderia AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda finish just outside of the points positions to take eleventh place after starting fourteenth at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Williams’ Alexander Albon and Logan Sargeant were Tsunoda’s nearest rivals on Sunday, and the pair’s overtaking of the Japanese driver soon after the start would come to define the outcome of the race– Albon would take tenth place at the checkered flag, denying Tsunoda a points result. 

“The race pace was better than we expected, but at the same time, it’s very frustrating to just miss out on points. The start was the decisive moment as I lost some positions to Williams, and their straight-line speed was too strong for us, so we couldn’t manage to overtake them.

Tsunoda said that tyres were a tricky element of his race at Bahrain International Circuit, and that though he was pleased with the management aspect, he felt that he was lacking grip on the rear. 

“I’m happy with my tyre management, although we struggled more than we thought. As soon as we wanted to push, the tyres began to overheat, and I started to slide around and lose the rear.”

AlphaTauri was one of three teams to not score points at the season opener, but Tsunoda remains optimistic about their chances in coming races– though he feels that the high-speed nature of Jeddah Corniche Circuit may not suit the AT04. 

We have more work to do to develop the car so we can consistently fight the midfield, starting with Saudi Arabia. Since we struggled with high-speed performance, Saudi might be difficult, but I’m staying positive as I’m sure the team and I will be able to extract speed from the car to be able to score points.”

“We know there’s more work to do” – Nyck De Vries

Team-mate Nyck De Vries was pleased with AT04’s race pace during his inaugural race with AlphaTauri, having worked up to fourteenth place from his starting position of nineteenth, though he admits that there is still much to be improved upon in order to get closer to the points end of the grid. 

“I’m pretty satisfied with our race today. Obviously, it could have been better and there is room for improvement, but in terms of performance, our race pace was decent. Given where we started, it was a good day because we could still fight some cars around us.”

The decision to remain on the hard tyre rather than take a third stop for fresh tyres during the Virtual Safety Car that was deployed on lap forty-one put him at a competitive disadvantage in the race’s late stages, with his competitors getting past on the quicker soft compound. 

“Not pitting under the VSC meant I was driving on the hard compound tyre for the remainder of the race, but ultimately, the mileage and experience will help us for the season.”

De Vries expects that the midfield will “look different” with the order likely to be shaken up at the high-speed venue of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, which may open up some opportunities for the team as they look to continue improving on the performance front. 

“Points weren’t possible today, so we’ll look ahead to Saudi Arabia, which is a bit quicker, meaning the midfield will look different again. We know there’s more work to do, but as a team, we’ll continue to work hard on the areas that require improvements to give us a stronger performance moving forward.”

Credit: Clive Mason / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
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