After scoring a point at Silverstone, Yuki Tsunoda is hungry for more, as he looks to head into the mid-season break on a high note following a slower than expected start to life in F1.
“Looking back at Silverstone, I wasn’t happy with the way Qualifying went, having a problem with traffic, but overall I was pleased as I was able to get a point on Sunday, even though the new format proved to be pretty tough. I think the team was a bit disappointed with our car performance, which was lower than expected, but for me I was quite happy. Driving Silverstone in a Formula 1 car for the first time, I immediately got an incredible feeling from the high speeds, especially through Maggotts and Becketts. When I first drove an F1 car, I was amazed at the amount of downforce and the grip level, but in those two corners, going through them on full power with all that downforce, was really a surprise.
“The Hungaroring will be very different to that. I like this track even though last time I raced there in Formula 2, I didn’t get a good result because of a poor Qualifying and in the race I did a lot of damage to my front wing. As a track though I really like it, as it is very challenging, requiring maximum downforce on the car. One side of it that is interesting is how much corner speed you can carry into the turns and generally it is a fun track to drive.
“It is physically demanding because of the hot weather and the fact there are no straight sections to have a rest, so I think it could be tough. I don’t know how I will get on, but I feel ready for it. After that comes the summer break. I am quite looking forward to it. As I recently moved to Italy, I think I will spend most of the break sorting out the house where I plan to live. Before this race, I was back in the UK for a simulator session and in the evenings, I was stuck in a hot hotel room with no air-conditioning or fan, so I’m looking forward to moving to this house with some aircon and being nice and cool!” said Tsunoda.
After a disappointing finish at Silverstone that saw him finish outside the points, Tsunoda’s teammate Pierre Gasly is another driver looking to go into the summer break with some momentum.
“The last race at Silverstone was frustrating as we lost a couple of points because of the puncture at the end, I think even eighth place could have been possible. Someone had thrown some gravel onto the track and it cut my tyre. So honestly, I was a bit fed up with how things went generally in the past few races. In Austria there was the collision with Charles, which cost me some points, and then that puncture. Overall, I’d say Silverstone was my worst weekend of the season, especially as it looked as though we could have salvaged between two and four points, so it was annoying that we couldn’t take them. But that’s how it goes sometimes and now we definitely have things to review. We had to deal with more complications than we expected and the new format didn’t really allow us much time to sort things out after free practice, before going straight to Qualifying and parc ferme.
“We got off to a very strong start to the season, so now it will be important to have a good end to the first part of the year in Budapest. I have done well in the past at the Hungaroring, winning in Formula 2 and scoring points a couple of times in Formula 1. It’s a circuit I like a lot, as there are no real straights and plenty of corners, so in the cockpit you are always doing something – braking, turning, or managing the throttle. There’s very little time spent in a straight line and I enjoy that. It means it’s important to get into a good rhythm and so I find it really enjoyable to drive. Of course, it’s always a really physical challenge with no chance to rest on the lap, plus it looks like it’s going to be another very hot weekend given the heat in Europe at the moment, but I feel ready for it.
“In terms of our chances there, we have seen in the past couple of weekends that McLaren and Ferrari have made a big step forward. We know we are fighting for fifth in the championship with Alpine and Aston Martin and that’s the target we must aim for. I think that in Budapest we will have a chance of being in the mix with these two teams, but we will need to have a very good weekend, benefitting from the full potential that is there in our package.
“After that comes the break and I think it will be good for everyone after an intense first part of the year. We know the next part of the season is going to be very demanding, so being able to rest in a year with 23 races planned, the most ever, will be important. It is going to be tough towards the end of the year, both physically and psychologically, so a bit of time for everyone to spend with their families is a good thing,” added Gasly.