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Tsunoda left ‘frustrated’ after being knocked out of the points late on in Saudi Arabia

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JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 19: Yuki Tsunoda of Japan driving the (22) Scuderia AlphaTauri AT04

Yuki Tsunoda endured a race of two halves in Saudi Arabia. But after finishing 11th for a second straight race, the Japanese driver could only sum up his Grand Prix with one word: “frustration.”

Having qualified down the order in 16th in a very tightly-matched midfield, Tsunoda knew he had his work cut out to make it to the points, especially given he was on the same strategy as those around him. Nonetheless, he managed to extend his first stint on the mediums and wasn’t harried into an early pit stop when the window opened.

Thus, he was able to take advantage by stopping under the Safety Car, in a move that catapulted him up the order into eighth. Although he lost out to the quicker Alpine cars, Tsunoda was able to hold onto P10 for much of the race, defending time and time again from Kevin Magnussen’s Haas.

READ MORE: Magnussen ‘really happy’ after last-gasp pass on Tsunoda clinches point at Jeddah

But it was to no avail, as the Dane managed to make his way past with the help of DRS with four laps to go, ending Tsunoda’s quest for a first point of the season, and leading to an anguished cry over team radio.

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 18: Yuki Tsunoda of Japan and Scuderia AlphaTauri prepares to drive in

The wait for points continues for Tsunoda

“The team did a really great job, everything went perfectly,” he said. “The pace on the medium tyre was very strong and it improved compared to qualifying. I'm happy with what the team and I achieved together, but at the same time, I’m disappointed we didn’t reach the points in the end.”

Two finishes just outside the points in races where there weren’t many retirees do point to the fact that the AlphaTauri has some latent speed, but Tsunoda and team mate Nyck de Vries both know they need to qualify further forward if they want to try and put that to better use and come home in the points.

But there were plenty of positives to take from Saudi Arabia – while with upgrades incoming, Tsunoda was keen to look on the bright side once that frustration had simmered down.

WINNERS AND LOSERS: Who thrived under the lights at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix?

“We’ll come back stronger with updates in Melbourne, so we are already fully focused on the next race, where we will do our best to maximise our performance,” Tsunoda added. “We'll continue to work hard to be able to fight at the top of the midfield and start scoring points consistently."

AlphaTauri are now just one of two teams yet to score in 2023 along with McLaren, and sit ninth in the constructors’ championship.

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