Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda had his dream debut at Formula 1 recently. He started the race from P13 and managed to fight off several rivals including Fernando Alonso to secure his place at P9.
The AlphaTauri driver had a slow start with respect to what his car can actually offer. But as the laps went by, he picked up the pace and joined the fight in the top 10 alongside Aston Martin and Alfa Romeo.
When asked how he picked up pace so surprisingly, he had a surprising answer.
“I had Fernando as my target, of course. And I drove with him a couple of laps and learned from him how he manages the tires and how he drives in each corner.
“After overtaking him, I tried to copy how he was driving and in a couple of corners my car was better,” he said.
The 20-year-old was tagging the Spaniard for a few laps and picked up his driving style. This allowed him to understand how to overtake him with ease.
Tsunoda’s father was a die-hard fan of Fernando Alonso, a two-time world champion. This probably prompted Tsunoda to learn more from Alonso as he tried to copy his style.
What was surprising is that Tsunoda is no longer keen on battling the Alpine. He believes that AlphaTauri has enough pace to compete against Ferrari and McLaren.
“I hope I don’t have to drive close to him next time because I want to start later, although the situation with Fernando’s car is different,” he said.
“The things I learned from him are important for the future.”
At Bahrain, AlphaTauri was the strongest car in the mid-field pack during the qualifying session. However, none of those drivers were able to transform that into strong results.
As Tsunoda tries to get used to his new car, do you think AlphaTauri will be able to climb up the ladder at Imola? Let us know in the comments below!