Scuderia AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda had a great Brazilian Grand Prix Sprint Race, the final Sprint of the season.
The Japanese drover started the race from sixth and that is where he finished following a great race.
First of all, a big congrats to the team! Yesterday wasn’t our day, but together, we made a big comeback today. Qualifying P16 yesterday for the Grand Prix and P6 today for the Sprint race shows a big step in the right direction. The car was fun to drive, but we have to understand why there was such a difference between yesterday and today. There were a couple of places where I could improve my driving, and I think the last lap in SQ3 was my best lap so far, which allowed me to start in a good position for the Sprint race. We maximised our opportunity, finishing P6, which is the highest position so far this season. With a couple more laps, I might’ve been able to fight for P5 with Leclerc ahead of us. I’m happy with my race craft today, and the pace the car had, especially in the race, was strong. Daniel also had good pace, so it was a big team effort. Well done to the team because, without their hard work, I wouldn’t have been in that position. Now I’m looking forward to racing again tomorrow. We’re in a good rhythm now, so we’ll build on it and bring even more performance into tomorrow. It won’t be easy because we’re starting further back, but we know our car is good, so we’ll overtake as much as possible, with points being possible.”
Daniel Ricciardo started the race from eighth place and came home in ninth place and speaking following the action he said:
Today felt a lot better, and what I felt was possible yesterday. Looking back, my qualifying lap yesterday was mostly my fault because I didn’t make it count when it needed to. On the medium tyre, especially in SQ2, it was going really well, and I was very happy with that lap. On the soft compound, I struggled in Turn 1 and 2 again, though not as much as yesterday, and I was a little disappointed with my final lap. As a team, P6 and P8 is a good result for us.
“The Sprint race certainly wasn’t boring. On one hand, it was nice to be in a battle, and I had fun out there, but I’m also really frustrated. As we showed this morning by having both cars in the top 8, we definitely had the pace to score points, so congratulations to Yuki who did. Every time I passed Carlos in Turn 1, he overtook me with the DRS afterwards. I’m also frustrated with myself for leaving the door open to Oscar, who passed me in Turn 8. Strategically, I can perform better moves tomorrow. Some things changed throughout the race, probably also because of the asphalt we have here, but I think I did well by adapting my driving style mid-race. In fact, we gained a lot from Carlos (Sainz) during the last couple of laps. Unfortunately, by the chequered flag, we were still behind by a couple tenths. Looking at the positive, I think it’s exciting to see the forward steps we’ve taken with the car. I also learnt some things during the race, and I’ll keep them in my back pocket for tomorrow. We’ll watch the replays and figure out how to plan my overtakes better, trying to find a bit more clear air and use that pace.”
Claudio Balestri (Chief Engineer – Vehicle Performance)
“After a disappointing qualifying yesterday, we tried to extract the maximum from our package today. This morning during SQ1, we decided to complete two timed laps, which allowed us to advance into SQ2. It wasn’t very easy, but we were lucky to set our lap times before a collision between Ocon and Alonso caused a red flag. For the second part of the Shootout, most of the top teams went out at the green light, while we decided to wait for the last minute, getting the advantage of track improvement. This strategy paid off, and we got into SQ3 with both our cars. For SQ3 we had a little advantage compared to the other top ten cars because we had a new set of tyres for both drivers. We set very competitive lap times with Yuki in P6 and Daniel in P8. This good result put us in a good position to score points in the Sprint race, and in the end, this is exactly what happened. Unfortunately, it was only with one car. We decided to start the Sprint race on a new set of soft compound tyres, compared to other top ten cars, which started on a used soft tyre. Although we lost one position with both cars on Lap 1, both drivers showed a competitive pace during the race, putting pressure on the two Ferraris ahead of them. In the last part of the race, Yuki gained another position by overtaking Hamilton, who was struggling with his tyres. At the end of the Sprint, Yuki ended up in P6 and Daniel in P9, just outside the points, which is a shame. Now we’re looking forward to seeing if we’re able to score points during the Grand Prix. Our starting position isn’t fantastic, but our pace today was strong enough to hope for points tomorrow.”