Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda has endured an up and down start to the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship, showing real potential in the practice sessions, but have failed to turn that into good results and points.
The Italian-based company have collected fourteen points from the opening two Grand Prix, and while previous seasons would have been deemed a good amount at this stage, their are disappointed that it’s not higher, highlighting the substantial progress of the team.
Pierre Gasly managed to score his first points of the season at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, finishing seventh after qualifying fifth fastest on Saturday. However, the French driver believes the results should have been better.
“Looking back at the last round in Imola, there are some positives to take away from what was a disappointing weekend in terms of the result.” Gasly said.
“We were in the top ten for all free practice sessions and were again in the top five in Qualifying – three and a half tenths off the pole time – which must be one of the best Qualifying times for the team.
“Seventh in the race is still a good result, even if we know we should have done better. We’ll discuss it as a team and see how we can make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
With Formula One heading back to the Portimao Circuit this weekend, Gasly will be hoping to replicate a similar performance to last year that saw him finish in fifth place.
“Last year I had a good race in Portimao, finishing fifth. It’s a really unique circuit with all the gradient changes, going up and down like a rollercoaster.
“It’s fun driving there and very different to what we’re used to – as a low grip track, the car slides a lot and it’s not easy to get the tyres up to temperature.
“We will be running the C1 hard tyres and last year, especially in FP1 they were very hard to warm up, but this time we have a bit more knowledge and experience and the weather will certainly be warmer this year. So, we will face a different challenge to the ones from the first two races.”
Yuki Tsunoda – ““I learned a lot of lessons in Imola”
After an exciting performance in the opening race of the season, Yuki Tsunoda was quickly brought back down to earth in Imola, making two vital mistakes that ruined his weekend.
The rookie driver was looking quick around the circuit, hoping for a good result in qualifying. However, he spun at turn fourteen and suffered a huge amount of damage that ended his qualifying session, which resulted in starting at the back of the grid.
Tsunoda certainly made some ground throughout the race, and at one stage was behind Lewis Hamilton in tenth place, but at the restart on lap thirty, the Japanese driver spun at turn two and found himself in the gravel before finishing twelfth.
The newly-promoted F2 driver admitted that Imola was a learning curve in his early Formula One career.
“I learned a lot of lessons in Imola. It was quite the opposite to Bahrain which had gone well. I had very high expectations for Imola and so had the team.” Tsunoda said.
“Everything had gone smoothly in free practice but then I made a huge mistake in Qualifying, which meant I had a very tough race. I had not had a bad crash for two years, so this was a lesson which I can learn from going into the next races.”
“The race was also the first time I had driven a Formula 1 car in the wet and using the intermediate tyres was really tricky, so I had to build up my speed gradually. But we have a car that has been competitive at the first two tracks, capable of running in the top six.”
Tsunoda will be aiming to make amends this weekend when the Formula One teams travel to Portimao for the Portuguese Grand Prix but admits it could be a tricky weekend after haven’t raced around this circuit before.
“The track in Portugal is new to me. I don’t know what to expect, although I have done a couple of sessions driving Portimao on the simulator and I’ve watched last year’s Grand Prix.
“It is a beautiful circuit with interesting corners like Turn 1 and the off-camber Turn 13 which looks quite unique, as well as so many up and down sections and blind corners.
“I think it could be tricky for track limits, but I will build up my pace gradually. It will be a completely different situation to the previous two rounds, as I had already driven a lot in Bahrain and Imola before the race weekend.”