"I gave it all, everything," says Tsunoda


Yuki Tsunoda admits to regretting that he couldn't secure the points needed to overhaul Williams in the team standings.

Having put his AlphaTauri sixth on the grid, the Japanese driver was hoping to not only leapfrog Williams in the Constructors' Championship, but to gift team boss, Franz Tost the perfect leaving present.

However, despite a heroic effort, worthy of his favourite action movie star, Jason Statham, whom he met ahead of the race, the youngster was unable to pull it off.

Opting for a one-stop strategy, at one point the AlphaTauri driver led the race, the first Japanese driver to so since Takuma Sato in 2004, but in the closing stages his older hards were no match for the fresher rubber on the cars of Oscar Piastri and Fernando Alonso, the Japanese eventually crossing the line in 8th, 4 points short of the number needed to leapfrog Williams.

"At some point, I thought we could finish potentially top six but it just didn't work out," he said at race end.

"I don't think we have regrets that we stayed out and tried to go one-stop," he added. "It's just obviously a shame that we weren't able to finish P7.

"At least I gave it all, everything, and I'm happy for it.

"Overall, it was an enjoyable season," he continued. "It started as a really tough season with car performance, but at the same time I was able to step up, at least compared to the last two years.

"It didn't pay off in the end, well, we were still able to claim P8 in the teams' championship from P10 so that's pretty good, that's positive."

Indeed, when Daniel Ricciardo first returned to the team to replace Nyck de Vries, much was made of the Australian's form in comparison to Tsunoda, particularly by the likes of Sky.

However, Tsunoda clearly raised his game out-qualifying the Australian 4-3, and scoring 14 points since Ricciardo's return from his Zandvoort injury, compared to the former McLaren driver's 6.

Wearing a special helmet that paid tribute to the departing Tost, Tsunoda said: "I enjoyed the last three years, and I will definitely miss him.

"Without his advice on how to improve, I wouldn't have been able to progress as much in my F1 career. I appreciate him, and I know we'll keep in touch."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Yas Marina here.

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Published: 28/11/2023
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