Yuki Tsunoda blames Daniel Ricciardo

Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo have both beaten each other once in the last two races.

Yuki Tsunoda has admitted that the return of Daniel Ricciardo at AlphaTauri has been the cause of some recent errors, with the Japanese driver feeling the pressure of having the Australian alongside him.

Tsunoda’s 2023 campaign has been by far the strongest of his Formula 1 career, even if the results don’t suggest that.

He’s shown a new level of maturity which he’s been lacking in recent years, something which helped him defeat rookie Nyck de Vries so convincingly.

In De Vries’ 10 races for AlphaTauri prior to his sacking, the Dutch driver was beaten eight times by Tsunoda.

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Things have changed since the arrival of Ricciardo though, with the duo currently drawing 1-1 after two races.

Ricciardo’s instant speed has seemingly surprised Tsunoda, who admits that being partnered by the ex-Red Bull driver is “challenging”.

“It’s challenging. But at the same time, I know that this current situation is completely new for me,” Tsunoda said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.

“I’m learning a lot, especially getting challenged by an experienced driver. And not only is he an experienced driver, he’s a top driver and we know that he’s fast.”

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Tsunoda knows that it could be beaten himself and Ricciardo for Sergio Perez’s Red Bull seat in 2025, raising the stakes considerably.

As a result, the Japanese driver has made a few mistakes recently, something he admits.

However, he dealt with the pressure brilliantly at the Belgian Grand Prix to score a point, whereas Ricciardo could only salvage 16th.

Nevertheless, Tsunoda recognises that Ricciardo’s arrival has made him “rush” in the last two races when he shouldn’t have done.

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“I already know he is fast but also how he’s behaving in the team is like probably the opposite as me,” Tsunoda said. “So, lots of things to learn, a lot from him.

“It’s also a bit of pressure for myself and probably that made me rush and a couple of mistakes in the last couple of races.

“But I was able to put it all together in the last race [Spa, 10th place]. It was not easy. But just happy and feeling ready for a fight with him in the second half of the season.”