Yuki Tsunoda scored high in Turkey by holding a stomping Lewis Hamilton eight laps behind him. It cost the AlphaTauri driver his tires, but he is happy to contribute to the eventual world title for Max Verstpappen.
The young Japanese has had a mixed debut season. He was very successful in the opening race in Bahrain, but after a few peak moments it went mainly downhill. Tsunoda’s contract has nevertheless been extended for 2022, and so he has one more year to prove himself. He showed once again in Turkey that he can drive really fast. Starting from P9, it wasn’t long before Hamilton – starting from P11 – was gasping in the neck.
Press the tires
Tsunoda seemed easy prey for the reigning world champion, but the young Japanese managed to survive eight laps in a clever way. Fifteen laps later, the 21-year-old driver made a spin, crossing the line outside the points. “In the beginning, in the duel with Hamilton, I asked too much of the tires,” he told Motorsport-Total. “It was hard to match the pace. And that spin.. You could just forget you had a mirror. I couldn’t see anything because it was full of dirt.”
The AlphaTauri driver continues: “It’s Honda’s last season and I want Max to want the title. For Honda and for Red Bull. I’ve tried to keep Lewis behind as long as possible.” When asked about what it was like to fight a seven-time world champion, he reacts dryly: “I don’t care. I actually wanted to keep him twenty laps behind me. Eight is not enough.”