Points were also scored for Scuderia AlphaTauri at the 2023 Formula 1 US Grand Prix, courtesy of Yuki Tsunoda.
The Japanese driver started 11th and battled hard all race to secure 10th place at the finish and score his first points since the Belgian Grand Prix in July, while team-mate Daniel Ricciardo came home in 17th on his return to racing after five Grands Prix on the sidelines with a broken hand.
Texas hasn’t been too kind. At the start, we were doing well with our plan, but the problem was once the cars with blue flags came up behind us, we lost too much. We seemed to struggle in traffic and then picked up some damage later on, so after that we lacked pace. On the medium compound, we were doing the same lap times as Yuki, but because I was on a one-stop, there was a bit more tyre management going on for me. Physically, I feel better today than yesterday, so the Sprint race was a good warmup for the Grand Prix. I got more race mileage and there’s a lot to learn from this race, so now it’s full attack for Mexico.
It was a good race for me and I’m happy. To score points here three times in a row is amazing, especially in front of the Austin fans. A great job and congratulations to the team. Everyone back at the factory and trackside are working very hard and it’s nice to see that the upgrades they deliver seem to be working well and we’re closing the gap to fight for P10. We got slightly lucky with Fernando (Alonso) in the end, but we maximised the performance, because if we weren’t driving there, we wouldn’t have been able to benefit and score points.
At first, I got a heart attack when the team called me in to box, because I thought there was an issue, but they told me we were going for the fastest lap on the soft tyre. It was my first experience going for the fastest lap in the final lap of the race and I really enjoyed it, it was thrilling. Now, we’ll refocus and continue to carry this momentum into the final races of this season.
JODY EGGINTON – Technical Director
Today’s race has been a busy one, but we achieved the objective of scoring points and there was not much left on the table, so we’re satisfied. Yuki ran a very good first stint, consuming his tyres well and not letting Gasly get too far ahead. His middle stint on the hard compound was a little more difficult, but again, he managed his tyres well. Then, after the second stop back to the medium compound, it was a case of going flat out to try to keep in touch with the Aston Martins, who were quicker in this phase of the race. Once we had the gap to Albon, the pit wall made a very good call to try to go for the fastest lap and grab the extra point on offer, which was a nice bonus today. Daniel’s race was more difficult later on, but he also put in a very well-managed first stint, opening up strategy options for him. However, soon after his first stop he picked up damage to brake duct parts, resulting in a significant loss of aero load and aero balance, meaning he was unable to run at the pace he was capable of and fell back into the chasing pack. Later on, we took the gamble to stop and try to resolve the issue in case of a late race Safety Car. Although we improved the car balance at the stop, the race finished without incidents, providing no opportunity to move him forward.
Overall, the car has worked quite well here in Austin and we have been in the fight for and scored points, which is a positive. However, we need to continue to execute solid weekends, to be able to capitalise on this in the coming races, so there is a lot to still work on. With the event being the first of three Grands Prix weekends, there will be a very intense period of detailed analysis to ensure we take the relevant learning into next weekend’s race in Mexico.