Quite a good weekend for Alpha Tauri in Azerbaijan: not only Pierre Gasly started 4th and stepped on the podium, but it was also the first time in Q3 for Yuki Tsunoda. The Japanese driver improved throughout the practice sessions and was running 8th in qualifying until he crashed at Turn 3 during his second Q3 attempt, causing the session to be halted.
Despite that he started in P7 following Lando Norris’ penalty and managed to finish the race in that same position.
But is he happy with how his first race in Baku turned out? “No not at all,” he said.
“Until the red flag it was quite good, but after the restart, the start was okay but the track positioning was all wrong – I tried my best and I went aggressive but I couldn’t avoid dropping two places to be honest. I don’t know how to avoid it. But congratulations to my team mate who got a P3 and a podium.”
At the restart, following the red flag to clear the track from Max Verstappen’s damaged RedBull, he was overtaken around the outside by both Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris.
With the position he regained after Lewis Hamilton’s mistake, Tsunoda finished 7th, his highest placing in a F1 race.
“Overall if I take all the positives from the race weekend definitely there were positives, but I’m really mad at the last lap,” he concluded.
Positives that were certainly much appreciated by Alpha Tauri’s Team Principal, Franz Tost.
“Yuki did a fantastic job I must say,” he said after the race.
“Okay he had the small incident [in qualifying] but it was in qualifying three and it can happen – it happened to more experienced drivers. And then his race pace sometimes was unbelievable. I was really worried that something was going to happen because he was really fast.”