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'He had the pace' – Tsunoda praises departing De Vries as he looks forward to working with 'experienced' Ricciardo

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NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 08: Yuki Tsunoda of Japan and Scuderia AlphaTauri and Nyck de Vries of

Yuki Tsunoda is looking forward to working with his new AlphaTauri team mate Daniel Ricciardo, while also paying tribute to his departing “friend” Nyck de Vries, revealing just how much he learned from working alongside the Dutch driver.

Following Pierre Gasly’s departure for Alpine, De Vries signed with AlphaTauri for the 2023 campaign. However, after a difficult start to his rookie campaign that saw him fail to score a point, the decision was made to move on from the former Formula E champion.

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Ricciardo comes in on loan from Red Bull, where he had been serving as a reserve driver to start the year. After leaving McLaren at the end of the 2022 season, he had spent half a year on the sidelines, but the eight-time race winner will now make his comeback to the grid in Budapest.

Giving his view of the driver change, Tsunoda said: “I’m looking forward to working with Daniel. I can’t say I know him very well, but we had a fun day filming together earlier this year in Miami.

“I think I’ll benefit from having a very good, experienced driver as a team mate. I’m sure I can learn lots of things from him and I also expect he will be able to bring something to the team and move the car development forward.”

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Tsunoda added: “I would also like to say that I had an enjoyable time over the past 10 races with Nyck. I learned from him, and we also had a good time away from the track.

“He had plenty of experience in other categories and gave the team good feedback based on his knowledge. He had the pace and, as a friend, I enjoyed my time with him.”

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AlphaTauri currently sit at the bottom of the constructors’ standings heading to Hungary, and in a bid to improve their performance, Tsunoda revealed they will be bringing upgrades to a track he expects to suit their car.

“For this weekend, we have more upgrades for the race in Hungary, on top of those we brought to the last race,” Tsunoda revealed. "Budapest has completely different track characteristics compared to the past two races, and its slow-speed corners should suit our car better than the high-speed ones.

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 09: Yuki Tsunoda of Japan driving the (22) Scuderia AlphaTauri AT04 on

Tsunoda revealed AlphaTauri will be bringing upgrades to Hungary in a bid to improve performance

“I like the track. It’s technical and challenging, and good fun. I have nice memories from my first F1 race there in 2021 as it was very chaotic and I finished sixth, after starting 16th. I’m optimistic, I always treat every race as a new opportunity where anything can happen.

“As a team, we’re very motivated to go forward and develop the car as much as possible. In my mind, I’ve had a complete reset from the last few races, especially Silverstone, and I’m in a positive frame of mind.”

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