Midfield duo declare top five teams now a top six after muscling in on fight yet again

Michelle Foster
Yuki Tsunoda flies over the Imola kerbs

Yuki Tsunoda flies over the Imola kerbs

Edging away from the lower order, Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo believe RB now make a clear top six in Formula 1’s pecking order.

For the first time this season, RB got both cars into the pole position shoot-out with Tsunoda qualifying seventh and Ricciardo P9 in qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Have RB edged clear of the bottom four teams?

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

The team’s double Q3 showing came on the back of their Miami Grand Prix upgrades, which marked a weekend in which both drivers featured inside the top ten in a qualifying session, Ricciardo in the Sprint, and Tsunoda for the Grand Prix.

It has the Japanese driver declaring RB now make up a top six that is separate from Formula 1’s bottom four teams.

“I think we started to be actually maybe top six,” he told the media including PlanetF1.com. “Obviously it’s how much we can suit the track or not.

“So far we are performing well, and it seems the Miami upgrades are performing super well. So that’s kind of confirmed.

“But at the same time, we’ll stay sharp as we know that it won’t happen like this every time so we just keep pushing. And we know where we are, where we need to be, so we just keep pushing.”

He added: “To be honest, I didn’t expect this much performance from the car, so it’s hard to tell.

“Normally we struggle in the high speeds, but we see a big difference compared to the previous races compared to the top five teams. So something to understand properly for going forward.”

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Tsunoda’s claim that RB are now making up a top six in Formula 1 was put to his team-mate Ricciardo.

The Honey Badger, in Q3 for the first time in qualifying for a Grand Prix, replied: “Yeah. Yeah, it’s encouraging because I feel like we’re now going to quite a variety of circuits and being quite competitive.

“Okay so we’re both in Q3 but obviously most of the time this year it’s been Yuki but in Miami the Saturday was me, the Sunday it was Yuki.

“I feel like if we put a lap together we’re a W3 car. And I think that’s really encouraging.

“It will still ebb and flow a bit but I think consistently we have a good feeling in the car underneath us and we are definitely inching closer to those top teams.

“Obviously next week is a completely different track. Hopefully, we’ll be here again. But yeah, we definitely started to get a bit more confidence underneath us.”

RB will line up on the Imola Grand Prix sixth in the Constructors’ Championship on 19 points, 12 clear of Haas who also bagged a top ten grid position with Nico Hulkenberg.

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