June 14, 2024 New York

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This Week In Motors - ThisWeekInMotors > Blog > Formula 1 > Tsunoda ‘happy’ with point on RB’s home soil as team set to review costly race start issues

Tsunoda ‘happy’ with point on RB’s home soil as team set to review costly race start issues

With two cars starting in the top 10 on home soil, RB approached the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix with high hopes for a strong points finish. However, their expectations fell short, with Yuki Tsunoda securing just one point and Daniel Ricciardo fading late to finish 13th.

The team’s troubles began right from the start, as both Tsunoda and Ricciardo lost two positions at the beginning of the race. This put Tsunoda behind Nico Hulkenberg’s Haas, forcing an earlier than planned pit stop.

Despite these setbacks, Tsunoda’s pace on the hard compound tires allowed him to overtake the Haas when Hulkenberg pitted, ultimately earning a point for RB. However, it was a hard-earned point, as Tsunoda had to make his hard tires last an impressive 50 laps.

“At the end of the day, I’m happy I scored a point in front of our home crowd and people who came from the factory,” Tsunoda said. “Our start slightly compromised our race because we lost a couple of positions to Nico [Hulkenberg]. He was fast on the straights, so we didn’t want to end up behind him, which is why we pitted before him and earlier than planned.

“That was the crucial moment of the race, and I think we managed the strategy well and responded correctly to Nico. It meant we had to go long in our second stint, and managing the hard tire for the last 15 laps was challenging. Well done to the team for managing that, it’s positive. The start is the main topic we need to improve on.”

Tsunoda has now scored points in four of the last five Grands Prix, including the Sprint in Miami. This strong run of form keeps him in P10 in the drivers’ standings, ahead of Lance Stroll. With consistent qualifying performances, regularly reaching Q3, Tsunoda has reasons for optimism heading into Monaco.

Ricciardo, on the other hand, also struggled off the line, losing two positions and getting stuck in a DRS queue for much of the race. With faster cars recovering from poor qualifying sessions, like Sergio Perez’s Red Bull, securing points was always going to be challenging, especially in a race with only one retiree.

“From my side, nothing felt like it went wrong [at the start]. You kind of know if you botch it from the way you drop the clutch; you’ve got a pretty good idea when it’s your fault,” Ricciardo said. “I didn’t feel like anything went wrong, so let’s wait and see. As a team, we have to figure it out. We just lack consistency there, and it immediately drops you out of the points.”

Ricciardo is still yet to score in a Grand Prix proper, though he has some points from his Miami Sprint result, where he picked up five points. This places him P14 in the drivers’ championship, just behind Nico Hulkenberg in the Haas, who is proving to be RB’s main rival this season.

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