Ricciardo’s behaviour in the team ‘pretty much the opposite to me’ – Tsunoda

2023 Belgian Grand Prix

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Yuki Tsunoda scored his first point since April with tenth place in the Belgian Grand Prix, meaning he has outscored both of the team mates he has had this year.

However he admitted he is already learning from the experience of Daniel Ricciardo, who joined him at the team two races ago.

Tsunoda started 11th on Sunday, made it up to eighth on the opening lap and climbed another place with a lap three pass on Lance Stroll. Before his pit stop he ran seventh, and dropped back to 11th once he returned to track.

His second stint was spent primarily in ninth place, and got as high as sixth before he pitted again. That returned him to ninth, a position which he lost with seven laps to go. Regardless, he was pleased to match his team’s best result from the previous 21 races.

He also acknowledged it was important for him to finish ahead of new team mate Daniel Ricciardo, who beat Tsunoda on his Formula 1 comeback at the Hungarian Grand Prix the week before.

“This current situation is completely new for me and I’m learning a lot,” Tsunoda said of going up against Ricciardo.

“Like especially [being] challenged by an experienced driver, and that experienced driver is not like a normal experienced driver, he’s a top driver and we know that he’s fast. And I already know he’s fast.

“But also how he’s behaving in the team is like pretty much probably the opposite as me. So there are lots of things to learn from him, and also a bit of pressure for myself.

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“Probably that kind of makes a rush feeling, and I had a couple of mistakes last couple of races. But [I was] able to put it all together in the last race. It was not easy, but just happy and feeling ready for fight with him second half of the season.”

Tsunoda praised AlphaTauri’s “fantastic job” over the weekend that enabled him to maximise their car’s pace on Sunday while sacrificing some performance for Friday qualifying and Saturday’s two sprint sessions.

“The set-up we were aiming for was Sunday more, so I knew we were going to a little bit struggle in the rain,” he said on Sunday evening. “But still, with rain it was not too bad and able to put it into P11 [in qualifying].

“I was able to maximise the car performance today, so I’m happy. And especially the last couple of races I struggled a lot and yesterday was a really horrible day.”

Saturday was also wet, and Tsunoda was only 16th-fastest in the sprint race qualifying session. He then fared even worse in the sprint race, being the last-placed finisher in 18th. But Sunday’s result marked the first time he had finished in the top 12 of a race since the Spanish Grand Prix.

Tsunoda said he was in a “slightly happier comfort zone” leading up to that race, and afterwards he “lost the rhythm”. But on Sunday in Belgium it went “back to the same shape or similar shape I had at the beginning of the season” where he finished no lower than 11th in the first five grands prix.

“The start was good, especially first stint we were flying,” he said. “I think I was quite matching to the Aston Martins’ pace, and I think that first stint was kind of key to score the points because the Alpine was still much faster than us, Aston was also very fast.”

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2023 Belgian Grand Prix

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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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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10 comments on “Ricciardo’s behaviour in the team ‘pretty much the opposite to me’ – Tsunoda”

  1. Hmmm, just wait until Mexico :)

  2. Its a bit of a shame he didnt go into detail or explain why (or in what way) daniel is the opposite of him in the team

    1. Coventry Climax
      1st August 2023, 12:26

      Agree. We may assume this was said in an interview. So maybe the interviewer(s) neglected to ask further, or maybe it’s left out in their (and/or this) article.
      If it was asked and answered to, it’ll pop up somewhere. If it wasn’t, it may very well be asked next time.

    2. I think it is clear as day. Tsunoda: cocky, impatient, arrogant, self-centred; Riciardo: positive, smiling, team player :) I guess Tsunoda noticed the difference.

      1. Kind of what I assumed, though I’m sure Tsunoda doesn’t exactly picture himself like that.

      2. How you describe Yuki i can’t see him that way at all if you said Shy, lonely and impulsive is more the truth.
        You describe more George Russell

  3. This is a really weird thing to say… As above, it would nice to know in what way Danny’s behaviour was “the opposite” to his.

  4. Pure speculation but maybe Daniel is more assertive or certain in the way he thinks things should be done or asks different types of questions. And Yuki more in a learning or being asked to think about things mode. Daniel has a lot more experience so it’s not surprising that he is going to appear quite different.

  5. I wonder if Yuki will be in the car next year. I would consider pairing Daniel w rookie to keep the driver pipeline moving. I don’t think Yuki has been that impressive.

  6. isthatglock21
    2nd August 2023, 10:43

    Shows the reality of F1. If Gasly stayed Yuki could’ve been the one getting the sack easily this year, especially now the Honda link has wained since they withdrew & linked with Aston. It now works against him. Fact Marko expected De Vries to match or beat Yuki right away kind of tells you just how little they actually rate Tsuonda. His days are numbered

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