Tsunoda thrilled with point after becoming the only Honda-powered driver to score in the British GP
Yuki Tsunoda’s Silverstone weekend didn’t get off to an ideal start as he finished 16th in the first ever F1 Sprint but, astonishingly, the AlphaTauri rookie went on to be the only Honda-powered driver to score points in the British Grand Prix.
The Japanese driver may have won the 2020 Formula 2 Sprint Race at Silverstone but he struggled with the debut Sprint format in his first Formula 1 visit to the circuit, taking P16 there to start in that position on Sunday.
Despite that, he pushed on in the Grand Prix and made it up to 12th by Lap 20, and as high as seventh before his Lap 30 pit stop, to take the final point on offer with P10 at the chequered flag. With Max Verstappen out on Lap 1, Sergio Perez finishing 16th and Pierre Gasly 11th, no other Honda-powered drivers managed to score in the Grand Prix itself, though Verstappen took three points for his P1 in the Sprint.
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“I’m quite happy for this point,” he said. “Yes, this week, the different format makes it a little bit difficult for me – one free practice and straight to qualifying, which I never had at Silverstone in Formula 1. To be able to score a point is quite good.”
But the 20-year-old said after the Sprint that the new format was particularly a challenge for rookies, as the sole practice session before Sprint on Saturday gave them little time to get to grips with the car at Silverstone.
“I feel that this weekend's format is quite difficult for rookies, as you only have one free practice session before Qualifying, which is tough, but I hope the spectators enjoyed this new schedule,” he said after the Sprint.
AlphaTauri Technical Director Jody Egginton explained exactly how Tsunoda made gains on Sunday: “In the race, we managed to use the strategy to extend our first stint on the mediums, which worked out quite well and allowed us to jump some competitors with both cars.
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“This allowed us to be in a good position to fight for the points with Pierre [Gasly] and then get close to that with Yuki. Unfortunately, Pierre then picked up a puncture from debris on track and was forced to pit for softs near the end of the race, taking him out of the points. Yuki was in a position to benefit from this and has managed to score a point here.”
The result meant that AlphaTauri have scored at least one point in every Grand Prix stretching back to the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix, with their best result this season a podium for Pierre Gasly and P7 for Tsunoda in Azerbaijan.