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Yuki Tsunoda: Formula 1 ‘best rookie in years’ recalls Fernando Alonso’s ‘moving’ battle in Bahrain


Yuki Tsunoda got everyone talking on his first F1 weekend in Bahrain – and the 20-year-old Japanese driver told Sky F1 about his race and his overtaking, that of his father, Fernando Alonso; Tsunoda was the first driver since 2016 to score points in his debut

Last updated: 07/04/21 17:32 pm



Yuki Tsunoda: Formula 1 ‘best rookie in years’ recalls Fernando Alonso’s ‘moving’ battle in Bahrain







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Yuki Tsunoda talks to Sky F1 after his Formula 1 debut in Bahrain, overtaking the field to finish ninth

Yuki Tsunoda talks to Sky F1 after his Formula 1 debut in Bahrain, overtaking the field to finish ninth

Yuki Tsunoda says that an “emotional” pass on hero Fernando Alonso was the highlight of his Bahrain GP – an eloquent and eye-catching start that led the young Japanese driver to be hailed as the “best F1 rookie in years. years “.

After impressing in the junior ranks and the much-loved Red Bull driver program, Tsunoda, just 20, burst onto the scene during the 2021 season opener in his AlphaTauri car, flirting with the top of the leaves. time in qualifying before moving from 13th to solid points in a fiery race.

His display, personality and attacking style led to praise in the paddock, and F1 general manager Ross Brawn went so far as to say: “He’s the best rookie in F1 for years, having been quite astonishing in all the series he has known has competed.

“His promotion by Red Bull looks like a brilliant decision.”

Yuki Tsunoda: Formula 1 ‘best rookie in years’ recalls Fernando Alonso’s ‘moving’ battle in Bahrain

Tsunoda said he was “50%” satisfied with his first weekend, saying he regretted not reaching Q3 in qualifying – despite the second fastest time in Q1 – as well as a start. unusually shy which caused him to lose positions.

While Yuki Tsunoda was the 65th driver to score points in his F1 debut, he was the first to do so since Stoffel Vandoorne in 2016. He was also the first Japanese driver to score points since Kamui Kobayashi in 2012 .

But he regained those places throughout the race, until the very last lap where he climbed to ninth place with a pass over Lance Stroll from Aston Martin.

“Passing a lot of cars was a really positive thing,” Tsunoda said. Sky Sports F1 after the race.

Passing a certain double world champion was a highlight for young Yuki.

Yuki Tsunoda: Formula 1 ‘best rookie in years’ recalls Fernando Alonso’s ‘moving’ battle in Bahrain

Yuki Tsunoda: Formula 1 ‘best rookie in years’ recalls Fernando Alonso’s ‘moving’ battle in Bahrain 0:50
F1 rookie Yuki Tsunoda overtakes two-time world champion with a nice dart inside in the first corner!

F1 rookie Yuki Tsunoda overtakes two-time world champion with a nice dart inside in the first corner!

“I got a little emotional when I passed Fernando (Alonso),” he admitted. “The last time I saw him I think it was 12 or 13 years ago and I was seven or eight.

“In Turn One, I just trusted Fernando’s skills and just launched him as a rookie!

“I’m a little sorry, actually it was really a long way away! So it was emotional. Of course, it’s not the same car, but it was great.”

Expanding on his admiration for Alonso, who returned to the grid in 2021 after a two-year absence from F1, Tsunoda said he learned a lot in just a few laps against the 39-year-old Spaniard.

“My dad is a huge fan of Fernando, especially his driving style,” Tsunoda said. “My dad loves the way he drives – I think the first time he saw him was at Suzuka and he said he was the best driver on the grid.

Yuki Tsunoda: Formula 1 ‘best rookie in years’ recalls Fernando Alonso’s ‘moving’ battle in Bahrain

“I was of course aiming at Fernando and I rode with him a few laps and I learned from him how he handled the tires, how he drove every corner.

“After passing him I tried to copy his handling and a few corners were also better for my car.

“I hope I don’t have to drive with him next time because I want to be further ahead to start, even though Fernando’s car situation is different!”

“The things I learned from him were very important for the future.”

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