Tsunoda happy with “good amount of improvements” in qualifying this year as he starts P8 for F1 Australian GP

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool
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In today’s qualifying session for the Australian Grand Prix, Yuki Tsunoda showcased his skill, leaving seasoned drivers in his rear-view mirror.

Tsunoda secured eighth position on the grid for tomorrow’s race, outqualifying teammate Daniel Ricciardo, as well as World Champions Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.

The Japanese driver has been on it since FP1 at Albert Park. He was in 8th in Q1, beat both Mercedes cars in Q2 to get through in 9th, and he delivered in Q3 to beat the Astons as Stroll and Alonso both made errors on their lap.

Speaking about the session, Tsunoda said: “You know, didn’t expect to be honest to be P8. Even Q3 as well after Q1 that when I saw Williams [Albon] and a couple of teams also picked up quite a lot of pace.

“Definitely big credit to the team, able to give me a very consistent car throughout the week. I think from FP1 I feel quite comfortable.”

Tsunoda emphasised the crucial role played by RB F1 in delivering a competitive car for him this year, after a dismal start to 2023 where the car was at the tail of the field.

With confidence in his machinery and optimism following today’s session, he claimed: “I enjoyed it for sure. The car felt good. And I think a big credit to the team, you know.

“I felt pretty good confidence from FP1 straight away.”

Tsunoda’s success in outqualifying Ricciardo once again marks a significant shift in dynamics within the RB F1 team at present over a single lap. 

Despite Ricciardo holding eight Grand Prix victories, Tsunoda’s performances in the last three race weekends has firmly established him as a threat.

When asked if there is anything different this year that is helping his performance, Tsunoda noted: “Qualifying for sure, I think. It’s pretty consistent, obviously. The race, last two Grand Prix, you know, there’s a bit of improvement in a couple of places.

“Overall, I would say I had a good amount of improvements, especially more towards qualifying, and I just keep doing what I’m doing. Let’s see how it goes.”

After slightly disappointing race pace for RB F1 in Bahrain and getting stuck behind the Magnussen train in Saudi Arabia, the 23-year-old is hopeful that the team can put together a good race tomorrow to try and bag a point or more.

“I think what we need now is more towards like no mistakes like for to concentrate ourselves to have a clean, have a clean race. 

“Last two races were very frustrating for us so yeah that’s what we need, and for now a first step. 

“I think if we’re able to get it maybe we can score points so anything can happen here so especially when we saw last year’s [race].”