Yuki Tsunoda says that the “silly mistake” that saw him crash out of Q1 was caused by too much excitement on his part.
AlphaTauri have looked strong all weekend, finishing with at least one driver in the top 10 in every practice session, and both cars were widely expected to make it into Q3 in qualifying.
However, disaster struck when Tsunoda lost control heading into the corner on his first flying lap in Q1 and crashed into the barriers backwards, destroying the rear of his car and ending his chances of making it to the final shoot-out for the first time.
Reflecting on the incident, the Japanese driver said that he was pushing too hard and got carried away.
“I was just pushing too much at entry, to be honest,” he told Sky Sports F1 afterwards.
“Until then the lap felt great, actually. I think that potentially it was easy to go through Q1 with one tyre.
“I was just too excited. For me, that was a silly mistake, so I feel really sorry for the team. You have to reset today, and just drive the race tomorrow.”
He had a poor qualifying session in the first race of the season too, starting down in P12 while his team-mate, Pierre Gasly, took P5.
However, he put in an excellent performance on race day to fight his way through the field and pick up two points, finishing in P9.
It’s much harder to overtake in Imola than it is in Bahrain, so adding to his points tally seems a tall order given he’s starting last.
He remains optimistic though, and thinks that he could be helped out by some rain.
“Tomorrow is going to be maybe different conditions, rain, to try to help me a bit,” he added.
“So just really put it all together and don’t do mistakes like today. I think it will be a bit of a different view.
“It’s going to be different conditions, so I just have to adapt to the conditions tomorrow, and push until the end.”
It was another excellent Saturday for the other AlphaTauri as Gasly put in a strong performance to claim P5. He’ll start just behind Charles Leclerc and ahead of the two McLarens and Valtteri Bottas.