During the initial 10 rounds of the season, AlphaTauri’s focus was primarily on their new driver, Nyck de Vries, who was experiencing difficulties transitioning to F1. This led to criticism from Red Bull team leaders Christian Horner and Helmut Marko.
The FIA Formula 2 and Formula E champion was sacked after Silverstone to be replaced by eight-time grand prix winner Ricciardo. The Australian generated such media interest upon his Hungary return that he reckoned it felt like “I had just won a world championship”.
When asked if he felt unnoticed, Tsunoda admitted it was difficult.
He mentioned that the encounter with Ricciardo was a valuable learning experience, despite the added pressure caused by the return of the former McLaren, Renault, and Red Bull driver, which led to a few errors.
He stated that it is a difficult task. However, he acknowledged that the present circumstances are entirely unfamiliar to him.
“I am gaining a wealth of knowledge, particularly through the stimulating interactions with a seasoned driver. Furthermore, this individual is not just skilled behind the wheel, but also ranks among the best drivers, renowned for their exceptional speed.”
Daniel Ricciardo, Scuderia AlphaTauri, with Yuki Tsunoda, Scuderia AlphaTauri
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images
Tsunoda believed that Ricciardo’s actions within the team were quite different from his own, but he was prepared to confront him in the latter part of the season.
“I am aware of his speed, but his behavior within the team is quite different from mine,” Tsunoda stated. “Therefore, there are many things I can learn from him.”
“I may have felt some pressure, which caused me to rush and make a few errors in the recent races.”
“I managed to piece everything together during the final race at Spa, where I finished in 10th place. It was a challenging task, but I am content and prepared to compete against him in the latter part of the season.”
Tsunoda believed that he had made progress in terms of consistency during the initial phase of the campaign, as he consistently achieved 10th or 11th place in the first five rounds.
However, the disruption of his “rhythm” occurred when he received a penalty for forcing Zhou Guanyu off-track, resulting in the loss of points in the Spanish GP.
The Japanese individual stated: “Maintaining consistency was crucial, particularly last year, which allowed me to make progress. I felt content during the initial races as I understood the reasons behind it.”
“I was feeling somewhat comfortable and in a rhythm. However, after Barcelona, I encountered two races where I unfortunately lost points.”
“Afterwards, I began to struggle with maintaining the rhythm. I acknowledge the extent to which I still need to enhance my skills.”
“I have returned to the same shape, or a similar shape, that I had at the start of the season. I am extremely pleased and will continue to strive for improvement.”