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Formula 1

Tsunoda: I still need to control myself more

by Edd Straw
3 min read

Yuki Tsunoda says he needs to find a way to “settle more and control myself” to make the rest of his Formula 1 rookie season a success.

The 21-year-old managed only one points finish in the first five races of the season, but despite heading into the August break with a run of four top 10 finishes in the last six races Tsunoda is still dissatisfied with his performances.

Tsunoda has crashed in qualifying three times this year – at Imola, Baku and Paul Ricard – and also lost practice time in Monaco and Hungary after hitting the wall.

Yuki Tsunoda crash Hungary 2021

These are the mistakes that Tsunoda is putting pressure on himself to cut out.

“To achieve that, I really need to work hard and make the car better from my side,” said Tsunoda when asked by The Race what he needs to do to score consistently after the break.

“Also from my side, I need to change my approach. The approach I took from Azerbaijan worked better, but I still need more calm.

“I didn’t expect to spin in FP1 again and go into the wall [in Hungary], so I just can’t keep continuing like that in the future.

“I have to find out what’s the best way to settle more and control myself.”

Aug 09 : Engine suspicions and F1 performance swings

Tsunoda struggled with rear-end stability throughout the Hungarian GP weekend, which is something he’s hoping to dial out with set-up work later this season.

His AlphaTauri team-mate Gasly tends to thrive with a responsive rear -end that allows him to rotate the car aggressively on corner entry, which appears to be something Tsunoda has struggled more with.

“I really struggled for car balance, especially the rear [in Hungary],” said Tsunoda.

“In the middle stint of the race. I was a total passenger through the corners to wait for the car to be stable, or else I would have a massive snap.

Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri

“So I have to work hard to make the car better, especially in the rear, to have more pace in the future.

“I just have to keep analysing, I’ve got to work hard with the team.”

Tsunoda’s race performance have generally been better than in qualifying, where he has only reached Q3 three times compared to Gasly’s nine.

But there have also been errors on Sundays, including a harmless spin in the Hungarian Grand Prix and in the Austrian GP a pair of penalties for crossing the white line at pit entry at both of his pitstops.

But his sixth place in Hungary (after Sebastian Vettel’s exclusion) was his best finish of the season and followed a hard-fought point for 10th place after a well-executed race in Britain.

Had he not had the penalties in Austria, it’s possible he could have gone into the break with four consecutive top 10 finishes.

While Tsunoda has contributed 18 points to AlphaTauri, four more than predecessor Daniil Kvyat managed in the first 11 races last year, he still offered a harsh summary of his performance.

Yuki Tsunoda

“I would say five or six [out of 10],” said Tsunoda when asked to rate his season after the Hungarian GP.

“Especially the last four races, I showed a little bit more consistency compared to the first six or seven races, but still need more consistency for the race weekend, FP1, FP2, FP3, qualifying, to let the team trust me more.

“So I need more consistency in the second half of the season.”

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