Tsunoda: Ricciardo’s F1 Debut Led to Increased Pressure, Resulting in Errors

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During the first 10 races of the season, all eyes were on AlphaTauri’s new recruit Nyck de Vries, who was struggling to make a successful transition to F1. His poor performance led to criticism from Red Bull management including Christian Horner and Helmut Marko.

After a disappointing run, the former FIA Formula 2 and Formula E champion was let go following the Silverstone race, making way for Daniel Ricciardo, a veteran with eight grand prix victories under his belt. Ricciardo’s return to the F1 circuit in Hungary garnered such massive media attention, it felt to him as if he’d just clinched a world championship.

When asked by Autosport if he had managed to remain inconspicuous during this time, Tsunoda admitted that the circumstances had indeed been “challenging.” However, he added that going head-to-head with a seasoned racer like Ricciardo was an educational experience. This high-stakes situation amplified the pressure he was under, leading to some missteps.

Tsunoda elaborated, “It’s challenging, but at the same time, it’s an entirely new experience for me. I’m learning so much, particularly from competing against a highly experienced driver. Ricciardo is not just experienced, but a top-tier driver known for his speed.”

Interestingly, Tsunoda found Ricciardo’s approach to the team to be diametrically opposite to his own, but he was prepared to face off with him in the upcoming races.

“I already know he’s fast, but his team dynamics are probably completely different from mine,” Tsunoda noted. “So there’s a lot to learn from him. This naturally adds pressure for me, which probably caused me to hurry and make a few errors in the recent races.”

Despite these issues, Tsunoda was optimistic, having managed a solid performance in the last race in Spa, where he finished in 10th place. He added, “It was tough, but I’m thrilled and feel ready for a showdown with him in the latter half of the season.”

Looking back at the beginning of his campaign, Tsunoda believes he has made progress, particularly in terms of consistency, securing either 10th or 11th place in each of the first five rounds. However, losing points in the Spanish GP after a penalty for pushing Zhou Guanyu off the track disrupted his momentum.

Tsunoda elaborated, “Consistency is crucial, and I’ve managed to improve on that front. I was content with my early races, but after Barcelona, I lost points in two unfortunate incidents. Since then, my momentum faltered. I’m acutely aware of the need for continued improvement. After Spa, I feel like I’m getting back to my initial form, which is promising. I just need to keep pushing and improving.”

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about F1 rookie

Q: What was the focus of attention at AlphaTauri during the first 10 rounds of the season?

A: The focus of attention at AlphaTauri was on full-time rookie Nyck de Vries and his struggles to adapt to F1, drawing criticism from Red Bull bosses.

Q: Who replaced Nyck de Vries after the Silverstone race?

A: Daniel Ricciardo, an eight-time grand prix winner, replaced Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri.

Q: How did Daniel Ricciardo’s return to F1 affect Yuki Tsunoda?

A: Daniel Ricciardo’s return increased the pressure on Yuki Tsunoda, leading to a couple of mistakes in recent races.

Q: How did Yuki Tsunoda describe his experience battling with Ricciardo?

A: Yuki Tsunoda said that he was learning a lot from competing with an experienced and fast driver like Ricciardo.

Q: How did Yuki Tsunoda feel about facing Ricciardo in the second half of the season?

A: Yuki Tsunoda felt ready for a fight with Ricciardo in the second half of the season, after having improved his performance.

Q: What aspect of his performance did Yuki Tsunoda identify as key to improvement?

A: Yuki Tsunoda recognized that consistency was crucial for improvement, and he aimed to work on it after facing challenges in a couple of races.

Q: How did Yuki Tsunoda’s performance in the Spa race impact his confidence?

A: Yuki Tsunoda’s 10th-place finish in the Spa race boosted his confidence and readiness to face Ricciardo in upcoming races.

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