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De Vries shoulders blame for Baku crash, while Tsunoda says he ‘maximised’ AlphaTauri package with points finish

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The car of Nyck de Vries of Netherlands and Scuderia AlphaTauri is recovered from the track after he retired from the race during the F1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan at Baku City Circuit on April 30, 2023 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Getty Images)

There were contrasting fortunes down at AlphaTauri on Sunday afternoon with Nyck de Vries’ race ending early thanks to a collision with the barrier, while Yuki Tsunoda was “happy” to finish 10th in Baku, believing he maximised the performance of the AT04.

Tsunoda started the race from eighth, but he crucially pitted before the Safety Car and then was caught up in a DRS train that was being held up by Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg – who were yet to pit – which left him down in 12th for the majority of the Grand Prix.

READ MORE: Perez leads Red Bull one-two in dramatic Azerbaijan GP to cut Verstappen’s championship lead

However, he eventually made his way past Hulkenberg before Ocon pitted on the final lap, promoting the Japanese racer up to 10th – and sealing his second consecutive points finish of the season.

Tsunoda’s performance came despite an early retirement from the Sprint due to a collision with the barriers, meaning he did not get much of a reference for his car’s handling in race trim. After the race, however, he was full of praise for his mechanics for getting his car ready to take part on Sunday.

“I would say the whole race was just behind the cars and one mistake easily lost a position so I really used a lot of concentration, but yeah the car was okay,” said Tsunoda. “I think especially straight-line speed while we improved a lot, we’re still suffering middle sector.

Tsunoda ‘maximised’ his package to snatch the final point in Baku

“But I think we kind of expected [it], so good job everyone especially after Saturday. The mechanics did a fantastic job to repair everything so, yeah I am happy.”

READ MORE: 'Ferrari were quite lucky' declares Alonso as he narrowly misses out on podium finish at Azerbaijan GP

Considering the tight battles currently in the midfield, Tsunoda was asked how important his solitary point was, to which he responded: “I was expecting P8, P7, here, to be honest.

“But I feel I maximised the package, and we have to keep developing and improving, so hopefully one day we get to fight consistently like this.”

2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix: De Vries clips the wall and triggers a Safety Car – and a flurry of pit stops

As for De Vries, he was one of only two drivers in the field not to see the chequered flag after his front left tyre made contact with the barrier at Turn 5, damaging his suspension and leaving him parked by the side of the circuit at the next corner, which triggered a Safety Car.

“[It was] fully my mistake, very silly, and very unnecessary and that’s on me. Nothing more to add – just disappointed with myself. I mean it is the way it is. I screwed up and I paid a price.”

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