Tsunoda left wanting more despite taking first point of 2023 in Australia
Yuki Tsunoda has finished the last three races – including te 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – in 11th place. At times in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix, it looked like he was going to set a new record for consecutive finishes in the same position, until a late penalty for Carlos Sainz jumped him one place forward into P10 and ensured he picked up his first point of the season.
The Melbourne race’s final standing restart saw Tsunoda – who’d spent the majority of his Sunday hovering around the points – pass a host of cars, including Pierre Gasly’s Alpine after it had run wide, before Gasly and Esteban Ocon came together and ensured another red flag was needed.
That overtaking prowess left Tsunoda in fifth place and on for a very decent haul of points – until the stewards ruled that a countback was required, which demoted Tsunoda back to 11th at the chequered flag, only for Sainz’s penalty to push him up to 10th.
“I mean, without the red flag I score points in P5,” he said afterwards. “These things happened behind myself after I passed Pierre [Gasly], so even without the incident I was having a P5. So it mega sucked after the red flag, a mega shame; I’ve been frustrated to end up P10.”
While he was obviously frustrated with the ruling, Tsunoda could at least take heart from scoring in a race that at times appeared to be going downhill. After qualifying 12th and pitting during the first red flag period, AlphaTauri appeared to be using their tyres more than others, the hard compound not lasting and leading to Tsunoda getting overtaken by a whole host of rivals as he slid down the order.
With the team later indicating that Tsunoda had been nursing an issue on his AT04, Tsunoda was left to view the positives, as AlphaTauri finally got off the mark in 2023 in Melbourne – as did McLaren, meaning all 10 teams have now scored points this year.
“Still, the first score, first time in the points this season so we should take that, especially considering where we started,” said Tsunoda. “Considering how much we were struggling before the red flag, with warming up and getting the hard compound tyres in the optimum window, we should take this result and be happy with P10 as we maximised our performance.”
Tsunoda's point lifts AlphaTauri above Williams and into ninth in the constructors' standings.