Tsunoda eyeing third Q3 appearance after stellar Friday showing for AlphaTauri
Fresh from points in the Styrian Grand Prix, Yuki Tsunoda was brimming with positivity as he said that there’s “definitely potential” for a Q3 appearance in the Austrian Grand Prix, given he finished fifth then sixth in the two Friday practice sessions.
The Japanese rookie finished fifth in FP1, behind Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, and sixth in FP2 – ahead of team mate Pierre Gasly – at the Red Bull Ring. Yet, he’s only made it to the top-10 shootout twice this season, last weekend (where he was ultimately penalised for blocking Valtteri Bottas) and in Azerbaijan, after mistakes at Imola and France.
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After a strong Friday showing, he said: “Again, we had a decent two sessions. We are quite happy, we maintained that pace from last week, and yes, looks like – I don’t know if it’s even better but – it’s quite similar.
“There’s definitely potential to fight [for] Q3, which is really positive. We also tried to work hard more for the long runs which was a bit of a struggle last race, and we found a couple of positive things. Also last week, team mate [Gasly] couldn’t drive in FP2, which also makes a difficult situation in FP2 for the long run set-ups. We had a positive two sessions,” he concluded.
Team mate Gasly missed FP2 of the Styrian GP with a power unit issue before his race ended on Lap 1 after a collision with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, so the Frenchman said he was “playing catch up” in FP2.
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“I think we were playing catch up today with the FP2 we missed last weekend and the race, so there were a lot of things we wanted to try in the long run, trying to understand the tyre and also the high fuel runs on my side,” he explained.
“So, I think there were a lot of positives, the pace was still there; struggling a bit more in these conditions, so I think we need to make a couple of changes for tomorrow and I believe we can have a bit more pace tomorrow,” he surmised.
AlphaTauri are two points in front of Aston Martin as the Austrian Grand Prix looms, despite Gasly's retirement from last weekend's Styrian round at the same venue.