RACE DEBRIEF

    ‘I was just pushing too much’ – Mixed feelings for Tsunoda after first Q3 ended with crash in Baku

    Yuki Tsunoda made his first ever appearance in Q3 during Azerbaijan Grand Prix qualifying, but his achievement was tinged with frustration when he crashed to bring a premature end of the session.

    Since scoring points on debut in Bahrain, the Japanese driver has found life in F1 much tougher. But in Baku, he found the going smoother as he made good progress through the practice sessions.

    READ MORE: Leclerc takes shock pole in dramatic Baku qualifying session as FIVE drivers crash out

    When it came to qualifying, Tsunoda showed top 10 pace throughout, and was lying eighth after the first runs. But on his second attempt, he carried too much speed into Turn 3, as Daniel Ricciardo had done in Q2, and ended up in the barriers, to end his and everyone else’s session.

    “I was just pushing too much,” said Tsunoda. “I thought I could stop enough before the corner, but I got a front lock and no chance to make the corner.

    2021 Azerbaijan GP Qualifying: Leclerc takes pole position as Tsunoda and Sainz crash

    “I’m OK, I’m sorry for the team. I think the pace was there. It’s a mixed feeling, there was definitely the potential to be in a higher position so it’s a shame.”

    READ MORE: 'It was quite a **** lap' says Leclerc, despite taking second pole of season in Azerbaijan

    Tsunoda provided a small tow to team mate Pierre Gasly, who finished fourth quickest, 0.6s quicker than the Japanese driver, and while he was annoyed to have crashed at the end, he was full of positivity ahead of the race.

    “Tomorrow is a new day, and I think compared to Monaco, it’s a bit easier to overtake, so hopefully with strategy and tyre management, we can put it altogether,” he said.

    Gasly was full of praise for his young team mate, whom he leads by 14 points in the drivers’ championship after five races.

    “He did very well, especially building the pace session after session,” he said. “I think he should be pleased with what he has done, his first Q3 – it’s always nice.”