Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Second-fastest Tsunoda stunned by F1 grip levels

2021 F1 Season

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Yuki Tsunoda says he has never experienced anything like the levels of grip offered by F1’s softer tyre compound after recording the second-fastest time of testing.

The AlphaTauri rookie covered just over 1,000km of running over the three days of pre-season testing, ultimately being out-paced only by Max Verstappen at the chequered flag.

Tsunoda said he enjoyed a ‘comfortable’ day’s running and was very satisfied with how the test had transpired despite some minor problems over his three days in the AT02.

“Today was a really, really good day,” said Tsunoda after testing concluded today. “Good progress, no issues. I could just focus on my driving. That’s what I wanted so that was really good.

“These last two days we had a little bit of bad luck, but today we put it all together and I think the mechanics and Honda did a really, really good job and there were no issues. It was really comfortable to drive all [the] session and achieve 91 laps. So it’s been a really, really good test.”

As darkness descended over the Sakhir circuit, Tsunoda traded fastest laps with Verstappen, making multiple runs on the softest tyres.

“I definitely enjoyed the C5, the softest tyre,” says Tsunoda. “Big grip – I’ve never experienced grip like it. Even when I was testing at Imola or Misano, there was much less grip. I enjoyed it.

“Today was a really enjoyable day also for the learning, for my driving and also the tyres especially. I did a full race simulation and also for the tyre management side. So I had a good step forward and got good data for the Bahrain Grand Prix.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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6 comments on “Second-fastest Tsunoda stunned by F1 grip levels”

  1. So far, I think Yuki is the rookie we are now looking forward the most to see how he does when the season really gets going.

    1. @bascb I agree. I’m definitely going to keep more eye on him than the Haas drivers, who’re, I reckon, going to be running in P19 and P20 on outright pace.

    2. He also the only rookie we can compare against an experienced driver ;)

  2. Very excited about the prospect of Yuki finally becoming the driver from Japan that really made it. I have high hopes!

  3. Same here, he’s a great personality and seems to be a great driver! He’s impressed me massively this weekend, hopefully he will in a fortnight!

  4. It would be brilliant to see Yuki pushing up at the front. He is so very irresistible in his enthusiasm. He was the stand out surprise of F2 last year. Not at all surprised F1 snapped him up straight away. He will be HUGE in Japan. The knock on for investment will be equally impressive I suspect. Go Yuki!!!

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