Tsunoda ‘aimed too high’ after Bahrain promise

Henry Valantine
Yuki Tsunoda Monaco 2021 PA

Yuki Tsunoda Monaco 2021 PA

Yuki Tsunoda admits he has been aiming too high in Formula 1 after the early promise he showed at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The AlphaTauri driver hit the ground running on the season-opening weekend, lighting up the timing screens in Q1 – as well as introducing the F1 paddock to his angry radio messages – before falling away in Q2.

He then put in an impressive drive to work his way up to P9 from his P13 grid slot and garnered praise for his performance around Sakhir.

Since then, however, Tsunoda has been comfortably outperformed by Pierre Gasly and has courted controversy on a few occasions, notably with the accusation of his team giving Gasly a different car to what he was driving.

The 21-year-old Japanese rookie has also drawn the ire of Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko after a tough weekend at a wet Imola. After spinning out in Q1, he was on an excellent recovery drive from his lowly grid slot only to find himself in the gravel again after a Safety Car restart.

Most recently, Marko said he had warned Tsunoda “1000 times” about the importance of mileage around Monaco, as the youngster had never driven on the streets of Monte Carlo before, but he lost out on crucial running after losing control of his AT02 in FP2.

Yuki Tsunoda DNF

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With the likeable rookie struggling to back up his early form, he says he had been too ambitious in the following races and so will change his approach moving forward.

“To be honest, yes, I think,” Tsunoda admitted on F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast when asked if he had set the bar too high for himself.

“Especially from Bahrain I went really, really good, even having mistakes…having dropped to Q2, but still went well and got points in the first race.

“I think from there, especially, I aimed quite high [with my] expectations for the future. Especially Imola, the next race…I was even aiming top five, like that. I think that means for sure I was aiming too high.

“In qualifying [at Imola] I tried to put an amazing lap, a dream lap. Especially in Q1 you don’t have to do that kind of stuff in Q1.

“My adrenaline and motivation was like that and I went into the wall. So I think in the beginning of the year I was really expecting high and I was aiming too high.”

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