“It’s just incredible, ” says Tsunoda after qualifying P9 for the F1 Japanese GP

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Photo credits: AlphaTauri F1

Special Saturday for Yuki Tsunoda in Suzuka, as he returns to home soil for the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix. The day started with AlphaTauri announcing that he will continue driving for the team alongside Daniel Ricciardo next season and ended with a P9 in qualifying.

A Q3 appearance that he had made last time in the streets of Montecarlo, back in May and that will be seeing his AT04 start ahead of Fernando Alonso’s Aston in tomorrow’s race.

“Definitely happy. It’s just incredible, especially getting through to Q3 in my home Grand Prix,” he told F1 TV at the end of the session.

“We struggled in the practice sessions, so the team did a good job and very good job by them. The car was great and looking forward to the race.”

The last two Sunday outings have been quite disappointing for Tsunoda: in Monza his AlphaTauri came to an halt even before the start of the race, while in Singapore he was forced to retire before completing the opening lap.

Hence, no chances for him to try out the new upgrade package the team brought under the lights last weekend.

A rather significant set of improvements – which include a revised engine cover, a new floor, modified mirrors and a redesigned front wing – to try and improve the car’s aerodynamic efficiency and caught up a bit in the standings.

Currently the team is last in the constructor’s championship with only five points, the exact amount that is separeting them from Alfa Romeo who is ninth.

“I didn’t drive with the new package yet in Singapore, but how Liam performed in Singapore looks nice,” he commented.

A P9 finish for Lawson that comes after becoming the talk of the day for taking reigning world champion Max Verstappen out in Q2 on Saturday.

And now that he can try out the upgrades himself, Tsunoda is hopeful to score some points this weekend, here in Japan where “it all began”.

“I don’t have to worry too much about the race, just have to enjoy, share a moment with the fans, and hopefully we are going to score points.”