Tsunoda pleased to deliver strong run to P7 and rescue AlphaTauri's 'horrible' start to Imola weekend
On Sunday at Imola, Yuki Tsunoda said he was thrilled to deliver a P7 finish at the team's home race – giving the team useful points after what Team Principal Franz Tost called a "horrible" start to their weekend.
AlphaTauri were one of a number of teams to upgrade their car (the AT03) for Imola, hoping to put on a show for the fans just a few miles from their Faenza factory. Things didn’t go to plan on Friday, neither driver making it out of Q1, leading Tost to lament their painful lead-up to the Sprint.
But Saturday afternoon saw Tsunoda make up four places from P16 on the grid to start P12 on Sunday, while he then drove a strong Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, running as high as P6 before losing out to Charles Leclerc at the end.
Tsunoda said: “Yes, the car was really good. We didn't expect that good; especially compared to Australia we made really good progress through the week and I'm happy with what I've done today.
“That was my main goal: to try to achieve the points in front of the people from the factory who came today. It's also for the people who are watching today in the factory. The amount of work they've done in the beginning of the season is really insane, so I'm happy to say thank you with the driving – so we keep it like this."
The result left the team boss far happier on Sunday than he was on Saturday, Tost offering high praise for Tsunoda.
“Yuki started in 12th position and after the first lap was already up to 10th. He drove a really strong race, overtaking many cars, to finish in seventh place. Yuki has been competitive immediately, from Friday onwards, so I think he now has a good basis for the upcoming races.”
Tost added that the team's new upgrades gave them a boost, as he looked ahead to the first-ever Miami Grand Prix on May 6-8.
“We now have to analyse everything and find out what we can do to improve our performance for Miami. I think the new upgrades we introduced here this weekend worked well, and we now need to fine-tune the car to have both drivers steadily in the points.”
Although team mate Pierre Gasly could only manage P12 from P17 on Sunday, AlphaTauri picked up six points – their best haul so far this season – thanks to Tsunoda’s drive to P7 at Imola. The team are seventh in the standings heading to Miami.
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