Lewis Hamilton incurred the wrath of Yuki Tsunoda in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix after the AlphaTauri driver pointed the finger at him for his Q1 exit.
After an encouraging performance in Mexico last weekend, where Daniel Ricciardo finished seventh to record the team’s best finish of the F1 2023 season, both AlphaTauri cars were out in Q1 at Interlagos.
Tsunoda was heard pinning the blame on Hamilton over team radio, repeating the seven-time World Champion’s name three times and calling for a grid penalty.
Yuki Tsunoda pins blame on Lewis Hamilton
The incident seemed to go unseen by the television cameras and Hamilton went on to qualify fifth for Sunday’s race in Sao Paulo as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualified on pole position.
Tsunoda later told Formula 1.com that he suffered “a lot of distraction from others” on his final lap in Q1, but admitted that the car’s pace was poor and that he would not have qualified much higher anyway.
AlphaTauri are hoping to close the 12-point gap to Williams over the remaining three rounds of F1 2023, having brought a major upgrade to last month’s United States GP in Austin.
Hamilton, meanwhile, is aiming to close the 20-point deficit to Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez – who will start Sunday’s race from ninth after being caught out by yellow flags on his only Q3 effort – to claim second place in the Drivers’ standings.
The 38-year-old, without a win since the penultimate round of the 2021 season in Saudi Arabia, is bracing himself for a battle to make up positions on race day.
He said: “P5 is never going to feel that great. I did the best I could though and hopefully we will have a better race on Sunday.
“The car was showing signs of decent performance, but we did seem to be a couple of tenths off the guys right at the very front. We made a few changes ahead of qualifying and it did seem to make the car a little nicer to drive. In general though, it wasn’t particularly fast.
“Having said that, the conditions and circumstances at the end of Q3 have maybe put us slightly further back than our true pace would have showed. It is difficult to say with any confidence though.
“Over the rest of the weekend, I think we’ve got a bit of a battle on our hands. Overheating with brakes and managing tyres will be important but if we can use our strategy to progress forward, then we will do that.”