‘Relieved’ Tsunoda hails 'insane' RB pit stop as he nets a point on home soil

SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 07: Yuki Tsunoda of Scuderia Visa Cash App RB celebrates finishing in 10th

Yuki Tsunoda was full of relief after scoring a point on home soil in Japan for the very first time. With back-to-back top-10 finishes now, the RB driver is enjoying a rich run of form.

While his race ended on a high, his start from P10 proved to be a challenge, with Tsunoda losing out off the line and falling down the order as a result. He took the restart in P12, with the team making the bold call to swap him onto some used soft tyres. He used those to good effect to climb back into the points, but that wasn’t the end of his dramas.

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Having had to pit early for the hard compound to get rid of those C3 tyres, Tsunoda gave up track position to a bunch of midfield runners, and then came in for his last pit stop on the same lap as Valtteri Bottas, Kevin Magnussen, Lance Stroll and Logan Sargeant.

Some incredible work from his crew jumped him ahead of the Kick Sauber, the Williams and the Haas up into P11 – which became de facto P10 given Nico Hulkenberg ahead had yet to stop.

2024 Japanese Grand Prix: Tsunoda and RB come out on top in five-car pit stop

“[I’m] relieved,” joked Tsunoda afterwards. “I would say after I lost a couple of positions in the first start, yeah I felt a bit of disappointment for sure but at the same time I had a great start after that and I think one of the big highlights was the pit stop.

“Our team did a fantastic job, the mechanics were very fast and we overtook two cars, insane! So – without them, without that – it probably would have been a lot more difficult to score a point today so big credit to the team and obviously able to score in front of Japanese fans finally, so very happy.”

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Tsunoda’s pit stop might have been the highlight, but the RB man still had to get his elbows out on occasion. The team had opted for a higher downforce set up with a draggier rear wing, which would lose him time on the straights, but get him closer in the corners, where the main overtaking opportunities were given there is only one DRS zone at Suzuka.

“Definitely, feeling confidence you know,” Tsunoda continued. “I knew that our straight-line speed is not that competitive compared to other cars, I knew other cars had a better straight-line speed.

2024 Japanese Grand Prix: Tsunoda crosses the line to seal points finish at his home race

"But at the same time, we know we had a lot of downforce and the only chance we had was in the Esses, that we normally use – that are affected by downforce so I tried my best, a couple of overtakes and yeah, I definitely enjoyed that.”

Tsunoda’s first point at a track he knows very well from his junior Formula days helps cement RB’s position in sixth in the standings, with the team now three points clear of Haas. With that midfield so competitive, every point could really count come Abu Dhabi at the end of the season.

HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the action from the Japanese Grand Prix as Verstappen wins following early red flag

Tsunoda’s form has been impressively consistent so far this season, with three Q3 appearances from four races and now two finishes in the points. He is carrying the teams hopes at the moment and gave RB something to cheer about on a day that was marred by the early crash for Daniel Ricciardo.

And with the first points on home soil since Kamui Kobayashi in 2012, Tsunoda gave the home fans plenty to cheer about as well.

Beaming Tsunoda credits pit crew for points finish after he jumped two cars in one stop



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