Yuki Tsunoda’s first race in F1 was one to remember for the Japanese driver, as he climbed his way up from P13 on the grid with a set of brilliantly executed overtakes, including one on Fernando Alonso and one on Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin that allowed him to grab the 9th place on the very last lap.
But after that fantastic debut in Bahrain things got more complicated for Tsunoda: he finished 12th in Imola [including a costly spin whilst running in the points], 15th and lapped in Portugal, a DNF after an engine failure forced him to retire from the Spanish GP and only a P16 for him last Sunday in Monaco. He's also incurred the wrath of Helmut Marko for his errors.
“To be honest, yes. I think especially from Bahrain I went really, really good, even having mistakes… having dropped to Q2, but still went well and got a point in the first race,” he said in F1’s Beyond The Grid podcast.
“I think from there, especially, I aimed quite high [with my] expectations for the future. Especially Imola, the next race… I was even aiming top five, like that. I think that means for sure I was aiming too high.”
During qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix he spun into the wall after losing the rear of his Alpha Tauri at the Variante Alta chicane.
“In qualifying I tried to put an amazing lap, a dream lap. Especially in Q1 you don’t have to do that kind of stuff in Q1. My adrenaline and motivation was like that and I went into the wall.”
A mistake that put him at the back of the grid, as the session was red flagged and he wasn’t able to get back on track to set a time due to the damage the impact caused on his car: “So I think in the beginning of the year I was really expecting high and I was aiming too high,” explained Tsunoda.