AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda has come to the defence of recently-axed teammate Nyck de Vries, claiming that the Dutchman “had the pace” but was unable to showcase his abilities during his time in F1.
Tsunoda has a new teammate in Daniel Ricciardo, who replaced Nyck following a tough start in his first season as an F1 driver.
Although Ricciardo is contracted for the remainder of the 2023 season, the Honey Badger has a bigger goal of returning to Red Bull to partner Max Verstappen if the team decides to dispense with the services of Sergio Perez.
Tsunoda has been one of the most impressive drivers this season and will undoubtedly pose a significant challenge to Ricciardo’s ambitions of returning to Red Bull.
The Japanese driver spoke about his first impressions of the Honey Badger.
“I’m looking forward to working with Daniel. I can’t say I know him very well, but we had a fun day filming together earlier this year in Miami,” Tsunoda said.
“I think I’ll benefit from having a very good, experienced driver as a teammate.
“I’m sure I can learn lots of things from him and I also expect he will be able to bring something to the team and move the car development forward.”
Tsunoda had positive things to say about Nyck de Vries, who was shown the exit door after just 10 races in the AlphaTauri outfit.
According to Tsunoda, there was no problem as far as Nyck’s abilities were concerned.
“I would also like to say that I had an enjoyable time over the past ten races with Nyck,” Tsunoda said.
“I learned from him, and we also had a good time away from the track.
“He had plenty of experience in other categories and gave the team good feedback based on his knowledge.
“He had the pace and, as a friend, I enjoyed my time with him.”