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No regrets for Tsunoda as AlphaTauri narrowly miss out on P7 in the championship to Williams

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Yuki Tsunoda came into the final race of the season with the chance to do something incredible and secure P7 in the constructors' championship for AlphaTauri. Having qualified sixth, all he needed to do was finish there and they would be able to leapfrog Williams.

Considering the team were rooted to the bottom of the table for the vast majority of the season, just being in the fight for P7 was remarkable. Tsunoda wanted to not just finish the season on a high for the team, but also pay Franz Tost back for all his guidance in the best way possible.

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The Japanese racer opted for the unfavoured one-stop strategy, the thinking being that the faster cars behind would easily get through if he didn’t do something different. As a result of a long opening stint, he even led the race for a handful of laps for the first time in his career.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 26: Yuki Tsunoda of Japan driving the (22) Scuderia

Tsunoda led the race for five laps - the first time he's been in the lead in Formula 1

But he faded in the closing stages on older tyres, losing out to Oscar Piastri and Fernando Alonso to come home a still brilliant eighth, a couple of places shy of what was needed.

“At some point, I thought we could finish potentially top six but it just didn’t work out,” he said afterwards. “I don’t think we have regrets that we stayed out and tried to go one-stop. Just obviously a shame that we weren’t able to finish P7. At least I gave it all, everything, and happy for it.

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“Overall, it was an enjoyable season, I would say. Started as a really tough season with car performance, but at the same time I was able to step up, at least compared to the last two years. It didn’t pay off in the end – well, we were still able to claim P8 in the teams’ championship from P10 so that’s pretty good, that’s positive.”

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 26: Scuderia AlphaTauri Team Principal Franz Tost is

Tsunoda bid his farewells to his team boss, with Laurent Mekies coming in next season

Three points was the difference in the end between Williams and AlphaTauri, and Tsunoda conceded that a few mistakes across the year were costly – especially in the “painful” Mexican Grand Prix, when he lost out on a potential seventh place with a rash move. But he was swift to congratulate his rivals, conceding that overall “they deserved it.”

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But it was still a positive ending to a solid season as he matched his previous best of an overall 14th place finish, and won the ‘Driver of the Day’ accolade from the fans. And having already paid tribute to his retiring team boss with a special helmet design, Tsunoda reserved his last words for Tost.

“Thanks to Franz once again. I enjoyed it with him the last three years and definitely will miss him, but we’ll keep in touch anyway. And that’s it!”

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