Tsunoda reiterates need for qualy improvements

Finley Crebolder
Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2021

Yuki Tsunoda says his priority going forward has to be improving his qualifying performances after his Saturday crash at Paul Ricard.

Not for the first time in this rookie season, the Japanese driver made a costly mistake at a crucial time at the French Grand Prix, crashing out in Q1.

The damage sustained in the crash forced him to start the race from the pit lane, all but ending his chances of securing a good result before they had even begun.

Helmut Marko did not hold back in the aftermath, calling his junior driver “impetuous” and “very stubborn”.

Tsunoda is happy he did at least complete the race without any further incidents but acknowledges he needs to cut out such errors going forward.

“Yeah, for the mileage, experience-wise, this is a good step always to finish the race in this rookie season,” the AlphaTauri driver said after the race.

“You need a lot of mileage to compete and learn about the race, so that was positive. But I have to improve qualifying to start in better positions to have more chance of finishing in the points.

“I have to learn from this [weekend] and I just have to improve it.”

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Of the drivers that were on one-stop strategies in France, the most successful were those who went longer in their first stint and therefore had fresher tyres towards the end.

Tsunoda was not one of those to do that though, and was in fact one of the first drivers to pit as, having made his way up to P16 in the first few laps, he was struggling to overtake Antonio Giovinazzi and thus opted to go for the undercut instead.

“The first lap was really good from the pit lane but after that, I was stuck behind an Alfa Romeo with a different compound,” he said.

“So we expected it was going to be difficult to overtake [them] in the first stint, so we tried to undercut with the hard tyres so I basically had to push from the beginning.

“I used quite a lot of tyre and it paid off at the end of the session – the tyre was completely gone in the end.”

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