Yuki Tsunoda, RB, Imola, 2024

RB “didn’t expect this much performance” in qualifying – Tsunoda

Formula 1

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Yuki Tsunoda admitted RB were surprised to qualify as well as they did following his strong showing on Saturday.

Both RB drivers reached the final round together for the first time in a grand prix qualifying session this year. Tsunoda starred in Q2, briefly recording the second-fastest time and reaching the final round without having to use a second new set of soft tyres.

Although he was unable to replicate that time in Q3, doing so would not have improved his seventh place on the grid. However Tsunoda admitted he “was expecting more from Q3.”

“I didn’t really put it all together, so I’m not really fully happy,” he said. “But I think until then it was pretty good.

“It’s the first time I was able to go through with one set [of tyres] in Q2 so that’s definitely positive. Overall this week was a pretty solid week. So I just [need to] finish strong also tomorrow as well.”

Despite having set the third-quickest lap time on Friday, Tsunoda said RB “didn’t expect this much performance, to be honest.”

“But obviously the amount of work, the people worked hard to develop our car, it was massive and for sure that’s paying off really well. For myself, I just keep focusing to extract performance from the car.”

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His team mate Daniel Ricciardo narrowly made it into Q3, lapping just a hundredth of a second faster than Sergio Perez. He said he had a “better session” in qualifying than he did earlier in the week.

“Obviously it’s still not quite enough but I think we made progress,” said Ricciardo, who will start ninth.

Ricciardo said he was “struggling, honestly, a bit more” than Tsunoda. “I think Yuki was really comfortable from lap one at the start of [first practice] yesterday. He was pretty happy with the car from the start and I was just trying to find a little bit here and there.

“The first sector was where I honestly struggled quite a lot. We made some small progress but that’s where the lap got away from me. But I’ll work on it and we’ll keep looking at it. Otherwise the rest of the lap I’m happy, comfortable.”

Ricciardo believes Tsunoda’s familiarity with the track near the team’s base helped his performance. “He was driving really well all weekend. I think home track advantage – he said he’s driving here every day, I don’t know, doing some kind of underground testing – but he did a good job.”

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Keith Collantine
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8 comments on “RB “didn’t expect this much performance” in qualifying – Tsunoda”

  1. Only Facts!
    18th May 2024, 21:48

    Really interesting how RB performance is fluctuating from track to track this year. And that swing of performance is also affecting who’s ahead, RIC or TSU.

    Anyway, beating Verstappen in the sister car at any Qualy session should be worth a star or two.

    If owning a seat is part of the deal with Honda, Tsunoda is cementing his Aston seat in 2026.

    Ricciardo, on the other side, is slowly turning into Bottas.

    1. yeah, unless they close a deal with a 2nd team, i don’t see how Tsunoda isn’t taking Stroll’s seat.

      1. I think stroll’s father is a good reason why stroll jr. won’t lose that seat.

        1. There’s that but there’s also talks that Lance may retire or vacate the seat. If Honda has the chance to find him a ride, they will.

          Wouldnt rule it out yet.

    2. chances are the junior team tests around that track a lot, and maybe even trains their own people on it. And chances are since its been a minute since F1 has been to Imola, the setup isn’t that great for the other teams.

  2. Tsunoda is doing a great job. It’s a shame he didn’t hook up his Q3 lap, I thought he was going to spring a big surprise after seeing his q2 time.

  3. Q2? Quick when it doesn’t matter. But the Visa Application seems to be a quick car round here, so Yuki and Dan v Checo will be a fun subplot to the race.

    1. Yuki is quick when it matters. Daniel on the other hand…

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