‘Lazy bastard’ Tsunoda aiming to be ‘consistently ahead’ of Gasly in 2022

Yuki Tsunoda ended the 2021 season 14th after a tough introduction to the pinnacle of motorsport.

AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda had admitted that he underestimated the challenges his debut Formula 1 season would bring, and concedes he was “lazy.”

Tsunoda was brought into the Red Bull programme as a Honda-backed driver having finished third in the 2020 Formula 2 championship, with three wins.

The young Japanese came into F1 with a lot of potential and anticipation behind him; he was even tipped by many fans to rapidly rise to the main fold.

But it quickly transpired that expectations of him were out of proportion, and he scored points seven times last year, failing to finish four grand prix.

Further, he was comprehensively out-performed by team-mate Pierre Gasly in what would be a baptism of fire in F1 for the 21-year-old.

He was then moved to Italy by Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko to allow him to focus, following a difficult start to 2021.

He concedes that he went into the season with a complacent attitude.

“I thought I had it under control. I figured it would be easy,” he said, even going as far to as to suggest he was a “lazy bastard” last year.

“I realised ‘Ok it is quite difficult’ – much more than I had thought.  I had never experienced that before. Then I had to fight.

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“Then there were seven races in a row in which I didn’t have an accident,” he explained.  “But I had never had a season with so many ups and downs.”

He managed a best finish of an impressive fourth after the chaotic final lap at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December, but is aware of the plethora of lessons he has to learn going into his second season this year.

“Now that I have seen the good and the bad, I can move forward.  I know the details where I need to improve to be consistently ahead of my team-mate,” he added.

“The ingredients are there.”

Tsunoda and Gasly have been retained by AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost for 2022, and the Frenchman has stated his intent to regularly finish in the top five as the Italian side seek to climb further up the midfield dogfight.