Yuki Tsunoda conceded that he needs to change his approach to qualifying ahead of this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix after crashing early in France.
The AlphaTauri rookie spun on his first lap in Q1 and hit the barrier on the exit of the first corner, ending his session as he was unable to rejoin the track. That followed a crash in Q3 in Azerbaijan and a Q1 exit in Spain, and Tsunoda says it is due to his usual style of wanting to attack from the first timed effort.
“Normally, I tend to always push hard from the beginning of Q1, which I don’t have to,” Tsunoda said. “It’s not necessary to do it as our car is consistently having good pace. It’s always got potential to go through to Q3 but I tend to always push from the beginning.
“Recently, in the last three races, I did two mistakes for the same reason — pushing too hard from the first. That makes the whole qualifying finished. Just got to be a bit more easy, I would say — take a more different approach, to be more relaxed. I would say I will build it up and be also confident from FP1.
“We will see how the (new) approach works. I don’t want to do mistakes again but still, I’ve got to push in the qualifying to have a good result.”
Tsunoda says he can learn a lot from his more experienced teammate Pierre Gasly, who doesn’t simply rely on past experience to get him through but learns more about the car’s limitations each time he heads out on track.
“It’s clever how he approaches every session, especially what I saw in France. Between FP3 and qualifying, we did big steps in the setup, big changes. I won’t say what direction we changed but he was more clever in Q1 that on the first push he just tried to feel the balance and see what’s different about the car. From there, he started to build up the pace.
“He has got experience from a long time in Formula 1; he takes it easy, feels the car and as soon as he feels the balance, he puts it all together which is a different approach to me.
“For me, in France, we did quite similar steps and I just didn’t care for the setup change — I just sent it from the first push and went into the barrier. The cleverness is, I think, his strength.”