Yuki Tsunoda sets record straight after cooldown lap footage involving Ricciardo emerges

Oliver Harden
Yuki Tsunoda with his visor open in the cockpit of his RB F1 car

Yuki Tsunoda is starting his fourth full season in F1 in 2024

Yuki Tsunoda has set the record straight after footage emerged of him almost making contact with RB team-mate Daniel Ricciardo on the cooldown lap following the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The RB drivers found themselves at the centre of a team orders storm in the closing laps of the F1 2024 season opener, with Tsunoda instructed to swap places with Ricciardo as the pair pursued the 12th-placed Haas of Kevin Magnussen.

Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo in RB team order row in Bahrain

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Tsunoda was heard voicing his displeasure with the request over team radio, with the Japanese driver crossing the line behind Ricciardo in 14th place.

Footage from Tsunoda’s in-car camera after the race showed him accelerating hard past Ricciardo on the cooldown lap on the downhill approach to the Turn 8 hairpin before locking up on entry to the corner.

After Ricciardo overtakes his team-mate, Tsunoda is then seen revving hard and power sliding as he repasses Ricciardo on exit, with the RB cars separated by inches.

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Speaking to media including PlanetF1.com’s Thomas Maher after the race, Tsunoda played down the incident, insisting the cars weren’t close to making contact.

“I wasn’t really close with Daniel, to be honest,” he said.

Asked to explain the team orders row, Tsunoda vowed to seek answers from the RB team, commenting: “To be honest, I don’t know.

“He was outside of the points, I was just about to overtake Magnussen. I was side by side on the main straight and got a driver swap [message] in the last few laps.

“To be honest, I don’t understand what the team’s thoughts [were], so I have to understand what they were thinking, but so far I don’t understand.”

Put to him that Ricciardo was within the one-second DRS range at the time the call came to swap places, Tsunoda replied: “I was also [within a] second, I was just overtaking Magnussen.

“And he also didn’t overtake Magnussen, so I have to review what [the team’s] thoughts were, to be honest. I don’t really understand.”

In situations involving team orders, drivers are often seen reswapping positions with their team-mates before the end of the race if the driver allowed through also proves unable to force an overtake.

With Ricciardo remaining ahead until the chequered flag to secure 13th place, one spot ahead of his team-mate, Tsunoda appeared to hint that the Australian failed to follow the protocol agreed by the team.

Aske if he expected to be let back past, Tsunoda said: “To be honest, yes. We were outside of the points and also that’s kind of the rules that we spoke about.

“We have to definitely review that for the future.”

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