Yuki Tsunoda claims he expected ‘much worse’ in Saudi Arabia

AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda has explained how his first chance at points in the 2023 season slipped away in the closing stages of the Saudi Arabian GP.

Having finished less than one second out of the points in Bahrain, AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda headed into Saudi Arabia with the hope of securing the team’s first points around the Jeddah Corniche Circuit. 

However, despite making his way from 15th to the top six during the race, the Japanese racer saw his chance at points fade away when he was overtaken by Haas driver Kevin Magnussen with only five laps to go.

“I gave it my 100 per cent effort for every lap and still lost positions like that in the end, in that last few laps which is really frustrating,” Tsunoda told reporters.

The Japanese driver blamed AlphaTauri’s challenges on the lack of speed down the straights and downforce in the corners that made it difficult for him to battle against his rivals.

READ: Helmut Marko fires serious AlphaTauri warning ahead of 2023 Saudi Arabian GP

“We just lost too much pace on the straights and a couple of corners that require downforce,” Tsunoda said, adding how he “just had to kind of push it 100 per cent effort in sector one to maximise the pace from our car to make the gap as much as possible.”

READ: AlphaTauri tell Yuki Tsunoda to stop ‘shouting in the radio’

Despite getting close in both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, AlphaTauri finds itself in ninth place in the Constructors’ Championship, as one of only two teams to have not scored points.

“I expected much worse than [the result in Jeddah], so a good job also from the engineers [and] mechanics. We just need a couple of tenths,” Tsunoda said, admitting that there is “frustration for all” of the team. 

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“At least I gave my efforts and extracted performance from the car as much as possible. And fighting close to the points, so at least I gave excitement to the team.”