Yuki Tsunoda was left a bit frustrated and dejected after losing out to Kevin Magnussen in F1 Saudi Arabian GP.

After two years in the shadows of Pierre Gasly and having his own issues being highlighted, AlphaTaudi’s Tsunoda has had two solid outings in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia without a point to show for it. The car is not a Top 10 one for now but he is dragging it towards it.

Franz Tost has been open about AlphaTauri not meeting targets and the results on track is a proof of it, but despite the shortcoming and lack of pace, Tsunoda has managed to showcase his potential in the two races which the team were looking from him.

With Gasly not there, many predicted Nyck de Vries to outshine him but Tsunoda has held his ground. In Saudi Arabia, he found himself in eighth after safety car pit stop. He couldn’t keep the Alpine pair behind but managed to do so against Haas’ Maganussen.

The Dane too has limited race pace as does AlphaTauri and so it became a straight fight for the last point. Magnussen seemingly had a bit more pace but Tsunoda was placing his car in the right places to avoid being overtaken despite several attempts.

But with couple of laps to go, Magnussen found his way through to take away the final point. Post-race, Tsunoda was seen walking dejectedly as the two shared a appreciative moment in the parc ferme where the Dane was resting after a grilling fight.

Tsunoda was happy with this drive though. “I gave my 100% effort in Sector 1 to maximise the pace from our to make the gap as much as possible but in the end he add up well and in the end I lost position to him,” he said to media. I think there’s frustration for all of us.

“At least I gave every effort, and at least I was able to extract the performance from the car as much as possible, and fighting close to the points. So at least I gave excitement to the team. That’s really positive. Hopefully we can develop through the year and I can score points at some point as soon as possible,” summed up Tsunoda.

He also noted that although some issues that they were facing were not too damaging but he gave up to fight back after he was overtaken. Tsunoda reckons they need at least half a tenth to be able to finish in the points on odd occasions for now.

“I didn’t have much issue but for some things I had to little bit back-off to kind of maintain the condition from the car or else we possibly couldn’t have finished the race, so there was little things making a back-step but it was not effecting massively, still we need a couple of tenths more consistently in the pace to fight in the points but pretty happy with it overall,” said Tsunoda.

On the other side, Magnussen was relieved to score a point and open his and Haas’ account for 2023. He had to work hard after solid defensive work from Tsunoda. “It was a good pass,” he said. “Yuki did a great job to defend and for many laps kept me behind, just put his car in all the right spots to destroy my aero in the crucial points and always getting good exits in the last corner to defend at Turn 1, and I got him eventually.

“I’m really happy; I think we made a good step this weekend on the set-up, much better on tyre degradation today than in Bahrain, so we’ve got to be really happy with that,” summed up Magnussen, who has scored only twice in the last 13 races especially after a dream result upon his comeback in 2022.

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