Formula 1

Tsunoda: Austin my best F1 race so far

The Japanese driver qualified 10th and finished ninth in Austin, behind the eight cars from the Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren teams. He was one of only two drivers to qualify and start on the unfavoured soft tyres, along with Carlos Sainz.

It was the first time he had made the top 10 since he finished sixth in the Hungarian GP.

“It was a good step,” he said.

“[It’s been a] long time [with] no points, and I think from especially Turkey I had a quite good progress, and in the end in Turkey I had a big mistake, but I improved those things and brought the car back home.

“I was quite consistent, and also I think the best race I did in the season so far, even with this difficult situation.

“I think I need lots of space, I have to learn, so just keep pushing and having more consistent points.”

After a good start at COTA, he spent the early part of the race holding off the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, having run ahead of Lewis Hamilton for a while in Turkey.

“Normally I lose quite a lot positions on the first lap,” he said.

“And this time I gained a couple of positions, went a little bit more aggressive compared to other rounds, and it was okay, so I’ll just keep doing like this.

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02, Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing C41

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02, Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing C41

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

“I’m happy, especially as my team-mate had an unfortunate retirement and [I was] more responsible for scoring points, especially when we think about the teams’ championship.

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“Even small points in the end can be big thing, so I’m happy with what I did.

“It was not easy, definitely. I really struggled for the rear in high speed understeer, but in the end, communicating with engineers to try to recover with the switches, I managed to bring it back home.

“I think we did even good step for the communication between my engineers and me.”

Tsunoda says he knows where he can improve for the next race, adding: ”I think also I need to dial up a little bit from the FP1, I was going P18, P18, FP1, FP2, which sometimes makes the engineers or team having question marks to me.

“And I have to a little bit think about strategy in qualifying, so I have to improve a little bit those things especially from the next round. I will focus on those things for next time.”

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