RACE DEBRIEF

    There were contrasting fortunes for the two AlphaTauri drivers in Spain on Sunday, as Yuki Tsunoda drove a considered race to make it into the points from P13 on the grid. But Pierre Gasly couldn’t do likewise, suffering contract at the start that saw him limp on with a damaged car.

    For the Japanese youngster, Spain proved a sapping experience, as he faced the press afterwards visibly exhausted after 66 laps of hard-fought racing in 36-degree heat to finish P10. But it was a satisfying way to end the day, considering the car hadn’t always been in a good working window.

    “That was a super-tough race; it was so hot in the car today and then we were in a constant battle to make it into the points, so the pressure was there,” he said afterwards. “I’m quite happy with my performance today and where we finished in the race.”

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    Tsunoda’s joy was tempered with the fact that AlphaTauri have had a difficult couple of races, with no points from Miami and just the one from Spain. That has left them fighting with Haas for seventh in the championship, a far cry from where they were last season when they were consistently scrapping for fifth. “I think we’ve still got a lot of work to do to be able to be higher up the midfield,” he admitted, with tyre management in qualifying one factor in the team’s struggles.

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    It was a solid race for Tsunoda, who added to his points tally

    AlphaTauri’s quest for further points always looked unlikely thanks to contact for Gasly at the start of the race which damaged his car, leaving him “sliding” around and lacking downforce. “We tried our best,” said Gasly afterwards, having not now scored a point since Australia.

    To add insult to injury, he was awarded a five-second time penalty for a clash with Lance Stroll late on, Gasly’s car understeering into the side of Stroll’s as the Canadian attempted an overtake. But there was no difference of opinion in who was at fault, with the Frenchman accepting full blame.

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    “I tried to defend as hard as I could. I take responsibility for the incident, it was just unfortunate to be fighting at the back for these positions,” was his take, adding that he would apologise to Stroll.

    The good news is that the team won’t have long before they can attempt to bounce back, with Monaco this weekend a different type of track that may well suit the ATR03, as the team chase their first double-points finish of the season.

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