RACE DEBRIEF

    AlphaTauri’s rookie Yuki Tsunoda lit up the airwaves on Friday with an expletive-laden outburst about traffic around the Bahrain International Circuit – and the Japanese driver quipped that he made a “good step” by not swearing in FP2.

    Tsunoda, who graduated from F2 to join Pierre Gasly at AlphaTauri for 2021, finished 13th quickest in FP1 and seventh in FP2 as the 2021 season kicked off in Bahrain. But his first F1 practice session was perhaps most memorable for an outburst on the radio (which you can see in the video above), which Tsunoda was asked about once he was out of the car.

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    “Yeah, I always try to be more calm every session because this is like my weakest point,” he said with a laugh on Friday evening.

    “Mentality-side, last year I was more swearing a lot and losing my focus, so I’m trying to train like this to not swear a lot but I was too emotional out there in Free Practice 1. This session [FP2] there was no swearing, so good step from me and yeah, that’s good,” added Tsunoda.

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    Tsunoda makes his F1 debut on Sunday as one of three rookies in the field

    As for his performance in FP2, Tsunoda saw a significant improvement. He explained: “Yeah, it was OK. It was not the perfect lap, but I think compared to Free Practice 1, I [made a] better performance overall. For the car and the team, I think it was very good progress through this session.”

    AlphaTauri completed a successful day of running that saw team mate Gasly land a top-10 finish in both sessions, and now Tsunoda has his eyes set on beating the Frenchman when it comes to qualifying on Saturday.

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    “Of course, [I want to] go to Q3, get a top eight or top seven, that would be great. Main focus for me: do my best performance and beat my team mate,” he concluded as the first day of the season came to an end.

    While Red Bull are making the headlines with their table-topping pace this weekend, fellow Honda-powered team AlphaTauri look quick too and will be aiming for a strong showing in a super-tight midfield battle.