Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Qualifying team notes - AlphaTauri


Yuki Tsunoda: "Today was an enjoyable day, and especially qualifying was fun.

"The team did a very good job because yesterday wasn't the easiest day for us. The upgrades we brought looked good on paper, but in terms of balance, it was very different compared to the last races, so we struggled to understand them initially. We analysed the data, made changes, and progressed from session to session. I felt more comfortable in the car as we went on, so in qualifying, it was a really good car. The team was great and without everyone's effort, I wouldn't be starting P6 tomorrow. We're in a good position to score points, and even though we have some fast guys behind us, degradation seems high, so you never know what can happen. I think it's possible to finish in the top ten, so I'll do as much as I can, and finish high."

Daniel Ricciardo: "I didn't have any mistakes on my final lap, and I think we had a lot more to show. Our performance looked promising, but when we hit the track today, we felt we had lost some speed. We'll look through the data and find some answers. It's a shame because we looked relatively strong yesterday, so it's frustrating that we weren't able to achieve more today. Tomorrow is a long race, and it seems some teams saved a couple of hard-tyre compound sets, so hopefully, that will open some windows with strategy, and we can move forward."

Jonathan Eddolls (Chief Race Engineer): "The overnight data review showed that both cars needed to address their limitations in slightly different ways. Daniel needed more front-end, and Yuki required more stability compared to his car in FP2. Then, we had to balance that with the higher track temperature of FP3, knowing they would drop again for qualifying. The changes for Daniel went slightly too far, but it was good to have found the limit, so we came partway back for qualifying, with Yuki leaving his car setup similar to FP3. All teams entered qualifying on an even footing with tyres, having saved either two hard sets or two mediums and having four soft tyre sets for the three qualifying sessions. It was very tight, and with track evolution, we knew we would need two sets in Q1, leaving only a single new set for Q2. Daniel struggled more with his car throughout, for reasons we are still to get to the bottom of, so he didn't progress through to Q3. The gaps between cars were so close that 51ms would have put him in P12 compared to the P15 where he finished. His engineers are working hard to get to the bottom of this in preparation for the race tomorrow. Yuki did an amazing job and was super competitive throughout, progressing through to Q3 and putting in a stunning lap at the end on the last new tyre set to break into the 1:23's and line up in P6 tomorrow. Looking at those cars ahead, this was the maximum possible, and it's been a strong weekend for Yuki so far. The focus now turns to the strategy for the race, where we have to outscore Williams by 8 points to finish P7 in the Constructors' Championship. It's a very tall order with several fast cars behind, but we will fight until the chequered flag and do all we can to achieve our goal."

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Published: 25/11/2023
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