Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Tsunoda plans to follow Gasly’s “clever” approach to avoid qualifying crashes

2021 Styrian Grand Prix

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Yuki Tsunoda says he needs to change his approach to qualifying after his crashes in the last two rounds.

Tsunoda has crashed three times in qualifying so far this year, leaving him trailing team mate Pierre Gasly.

Following crashes during Q3 in Baku and Q1 at Paul Ricard, Tsunoda said that he needs to take a more restrained approach on Saturdays.

“Normally I attempt to always push hard from the beginning in qualifying one, which I don’t have to,” he said. “[It’s] not so much necessary to do it, especially [with] our car having always consistently good pace [there’s] always potential to go through to Q3.

“But I tend to always push from beginning and recently, like the last three races, I did two mistakes and same thing, same reason. Pushing too hard, from the first push that makes [my] whole qualifying finish. So [I’m] just going to be more easy.”

Ahead of this weekend, Tsunoda said he needs to be more patient in building up qualifying pace, as AlphaTauri’s pace means he doesn’t need to take risks.

“I’ve just got to take a more different approach, to be more relaxed,” said Tsunoda. “I don’t want to do mistakes again. I’ve still got to push in qualifying to have a good result, as much as possible but definitely I’ve got to change approach.

Tsunoda has been observing how his team mate builds up his pace throughout the weekend. “He’s clever, how he approaches every session, especially what I saw in France between FP3 and qualifying.

“We [changed] quite big steps for the set-up – I won’t say what direction we changed – but he was more clever in qualifying one, first push he just tried to feel that balance and what was different on the car and from there just started building up the pace.”

Despite Gasly’s greater experience, “he still takes it easy to feel the car balance and as soon as he got [that] balance and feel he just put it all together, which is a different approach [to] me,” said Tsunoda.

“His strength, for me [is] just we did quite similar steps and I just didn’t [take] care for the set-up change, I just sent it from a first push and there was the barrier. So that’s how he approached the session and [that] cleverness is, I think, his strength.”

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2021 Styrian Grand Prix

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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3 comments on “Tsunoda plans to follow Gasly’s “clever” approach to avoid qualifying crashes”

  1. A lot to learn still. A bit perplexing. Lower categories have the same problems.
    I hope he get his act together before Marko axes him.

    1. Yep erikje, it seems like someone might have mentioned it to him as being a good idea to not stress himself and material: test limits in practice, then keep something in reserve when you don’t need it in sessions that count for when you do need it. Bit baffling really that in the Red Bull program that never came up, but there you go. Good for him that he’s learned that then, it will no doubt help him a lot in the rest of his motorsports career.

  2. The old, ‘dont crash’ approach is fairly effective.

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