Tsunoda: Qualifying Session Tougher Than Anticipated

The Visa Cash RB team did not replicate its impressive performance from Imola qualifying, but Yuki Tsunoda nevertheless managed to start among the top ten in tomorrow’s Monaco Grand Prix. 

 Yuki Tsunoda looked incredibly fast in the practice session, and he was able to maintain that form in the crucial qualifying round. 

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The Japanese continued to make the top 10 shootout and are gradually making an appearance in Q3.
Today, the Sagamihara man will lead the midfield runners starting from position eight. 

He acknowledged that he was a little taken aback by the progress his opponents made throughout qualifying, but he is keen to take advantage of his excellent position in order to score more points.

“Today was much harder than expected, but we picked up the pace quite a lot and managed to improve lap by lap in every session from Q1 to Q3. Q1 was a bit of a struggle considering the pace we had in free practice, but we managed to squeeze out every millisecond from the car.

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“It was super intense, one mistake is a big compromise here. I felt a little bit of pressure, but at the same time enjoyed it, I managed to keep my mind calm and extract the performance of the car. It’s going to be tricky tomorrow, it’s hard to overtake here so the start is very decisive and the main thing is to have a clean race.

“The pace is good, so we just have to extract all car’s performance. Overall as a team, we did a fantastic job, consistently this week. Ending up in P8, it’s a nice feeling and definitely special here.”

Because there was so much competition for space and the C5 rubber seemed to have a very limited working window here, Ricciardo, his teammate, had difficulty getting his tires ready. The Australian qualified for the second round, although he finished 13th fastest, therefore he described his day as difficult.

Monaco Grand Prix: Qualifying team notes - RB - Pitpass.com

“It was a tough day today. Qualifying is very important here in Monaco and it hurts starting outside the top 10 for tomorrow’s race. Yesterday we felt we were in a good place, I knew there was a little bit to come for us so I was definitely excited coming into today, but unfortunately, it feels like we took a little bit of a backstep.

“I’m not disappointed with the way I drove, it just simply wasn’t quite enough to get the most out of it where I needed to. The car was slightly trickier in some places and I was struggling a little, but it wasn’t a matter of us making any big mistakes. Personally, I just found it difficult to get the tyres going in the first lap and then, whenever I was able to lift the pace, we couldn’t find as much time as the others.

“I’ve qualified a few times around this position here and certainly, it won’t make our life easy. It’s frustrating, but we’ll work together with the team to understand a few things better and we’ll try to get on top of it for the race.”

Head of Vehicle Performance Guillaume Dezoteux continued, “Our plan was to dedicate the third free practice to the optimisation of the soft tyres for the quali, after a solid Friday and the usual overnight analysis and simulator work.” We were aware that the qualifying session would be extremely competitive and that securing a decent traffic window would be crucial, particularly in the crowded Q1 with twenty cars on the track.


“Engineers and mechanics did a great job at being out at the right time and finding good positions around the circuit. We did competitive laps on the first set of tyres, but it was clear that the high track evolution would force everyone to run again. During the second qualifying session, it was again close and Yuki did a strong lap in his second set securing the access to Q3. Daniel struggled a little bit more with the balance of his car but still managed to beat Stroll and get very close to Hulkenberg, who is a focus of ours for the weekend.

“Q3 was definitely easier as for traffic management, with only 10 cars on track. Yuki has done a great job at securing the eighth position. It’s another Q3 for us and once more we top the midfield runners. We are in a strong position for tomorrow. Now its’s time for our strategy group to review the various race scenarios, run many simulations and we will discuss and define our final plan in the morning. The target is clear: bring home some more points.”