Yuki Tsunoda was able to “maximise the performance” to bag third P10 of 2023 F1 season at Spa

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Yuki Tsunoda left the Belgian Grand Prix with a satisfying performance in his AlphaTauri.

Starting in eleventh position, behind the Aston Martins driven by Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll and followed by the Alpine of his former team-mate Pierre Gasly, the Japanese driver quickly managed to gain positions after the first race incident involving Carlos Sainz and Oscar Piastri.

He ran as high as P6 at one point after passing Carlos Sainz, but he ultimately fell back to P10 by the end as Russell, Stroll, Norris and Ocon all beat him in faster cars.

Tsunoda appeared enthusiastic about the race performance, as he talked about how the similar pace to Stroll worked in his favour at the start, managing to hold the faster Alpine of Pierre Gasly behind him at the end.

“The start was good, especially in the first stint we were flying.

“I think the pace of the Astons was very similar. And I think the first stint was crucial to get the final point, because Alpine was still much faster than us.”

The Japanese star talked about how they went all in for Sunday in the dry conditions. Although qualifying was a mix of conditions, he managed to qualify P11 and took full advantage of it two days later.

“I am really, really happy. First of all the team did a fantastic job, the car was flying today and our target was actually Sunday.

“So I knew we would struggle in the rain. But even in the rain it didn’t go badly, and I was able to put the car in 11th position [in qualifying on Friday afternoon] and maximise the performance of the car then today.”

For the Faenza-based team it is a small positive in a season that — on the verge of the summer break — has provided little satisfaction. With a sudden change of drivers, which saw the departure of Nyck De Vries and the return of Daniel Ricciardo, the team now finds itself at the bottom of the constructors’ championship.

The last two races saw Tsunoda classified in 16th and 15th position respectively. The point gained at Spa-Francorchamps, after a Sprint Race finished in last position following a spin, represented a sense of relief for the Japanese driver.

“So yes, I am happy, and especially in the last two races I struggled a lot, and Saturday was a really horrible day. So yeah, it’s definitely a positive way to end the summer break.”

Photo Credit: Scuderia AlphaTauri