Tsunoda “expected much worse” after narrowly missing points again

2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Yuki Tsunoda said AlphaTauri was losing out to its rivals in the straights and corners in Jeddah after narrowly missing a points finish for the second race in a row.

From 15th on the grid, Tsunoda climbed to sixth in the first third of the 50-lap Saudi Arabian Grand Prix before pitting. He then ran in eighth but lacked the pace of the cars behind him and eventually finished 11th. He described it as a “pretty tough” race.

“I gave my 100% effort every lap, and still couldn’t [retain position],” Tsunoda said of his lengthy second stint in the race. “Lost positions like that in the end in the last four laps, so I’m just really frustrated.”

On a high-speed track where very few of the corners require braking, Tsunoda said his AlphaTauri AT04 “lost too much pace in the straights, and a couple of corners that required downforce.” He “had to put in 100% effort in sector one to maximise the pace from our car to make the gap as much as possible” to avoid being passed around the rest of the lap.

In the end, Tsunoda’s efforts were not enough to avoid being passed. it leaves AlphaTauri as one of two teams yet to score in 2023 despite their worst result so far being better than seven other teams’.

“I think there’s frustration for all of us [at the team],” said Tsunoda. “At least I gave every effort, and at least I was able to extract the performance from the car as much as possible, and fighting close to the points.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“So at least I gave excitement to the team. That’s really positive. Hopefully we can develop through the year and I can score points at some point as soon as possible.”

Race start, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2023
Poll: Vote for your 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver of the Weekend
Tsunoda finished one second away from tenth place at the Bahrain Grand Prix, although in that race he never actually ran in a points position. In Jeddah he was demoted from the top ten with five laps to go and ended the race 2.6s away from his first points of 2023.

Despite the frustration, Tsunoda was encouraged by the improvement he has seen since Bahrain. “Definitely we didn’t expect that pace,” he said of his Jeddah performance. “I expected much worse than that. So good job from also the engineers and mechanics. Just need a couple of tenths, at least, every lap.”

He is hopeful the team will be able to capitalise on a chance to score points soon. “At least I saw my potential,” he said. “My performance, that’s the most important thing.

“If I keep fighting like this, I think there’s at some point a big chance, more than this one. So if that happens, I’ve just got to maximise that opportunity. Until then, I just wait and extract from the car like this performance as much as possible.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Browse all 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix articles

Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

4 comments on “Tsunoda “expected much worse” after narrowly missing points again”

  1. If the first two races are anything to go by, then Tsonuda looks like he’s taken a step forward in terms of overall weekend performance. He was pretty impressive at Bahrain, and even here in Jeddah. It’s a shame the car is so uncompetitive this year, as I think he would have easily managed two points finishes in a row if he was in an Alfa or Haas this year.

  2. His screams will leave him out of the sport

    1. I want someone to draw him a comic and when anything goes wrong I picture him shouting in full page scream

  3. Yuki is under pressure to perform this year, if he does a good job and beats de Vries over the entire season he most likely gets to keep his seat. So far he’s doing a good job but really not getting any reward for it. Narrowly missing out on P10 for 2 races now must be frustrating, especially in Jeddah where he had the place up until the last laps.

Comments are closed.