Rookie points scorer Tsunoda is half-satisfied

29 March 2021 - 08:09 By Reuters
Yuki Tsunoda of Scuderia AlphaTauri and Japan during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 28 2021.
Yuki Tsunoda of Scuderia AlphaTauri and Japan during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 28 2021.
Image: Peter Fox/Getty Images

Yuki Tsunoda said he was only half-happy after becoming the first Japanese driver to score points in Formula One in nearly a decade, and the 65th rookie to open his account in his debut race.

The last Japanese driver to finish in the top 10 was Kamui Kobayashi with Sauber in Brazil in 2012.

"I lost quite a lot of positions on the first lap. That was my big mistake and I had to recover from there. I’m happy 50% but 50% was my big mistake," said the AlphaTauri driver who finished ninth.

Tsunoda was the eighth Japanese driver to score in Formula One and is looking like one of the best prospects.

The last debutant to score points was Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne with McLaren in 2016, also in Bahrain.

The 20-year-old Tsunoda, the first F1 driver born in the 21st century, told Sky Sports television he had taken particular inspiration from two-times world champion Fernando Alonso making his comeback with Renault-owned Alpine at the age of 39.

"My father is quite a fan of Fernando, especially his driving style," he said.

"The first time my dad saw Fernando was at Suzuka. He said his acceleration from the corner is the best of any driver on the grid."

Tsunoda, one of three rookies this year, said he drove with Alonso for a few laps, soaking up information.

"I learnt from him how he drives, how he manages the tyres, every corner. After I passed him, I tried to copy his driving," he said.

"The things I learn from him will be big for the future." 


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