Tsunoda in Australian GP gear revelation

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Yuki Tsunoda has remarkably revealed he went through several corners during the Australian Grand Prix a gear higher than last season.

The Japanese driver had arguably the worst car on the grid in last year’s race at Melbourne’s Albert Park, whereas his package on Sunday was far more competitive.

Tsunoda finished the race in eighth but was promoted to seventh, following a post-race 20-second time penalty for Fernando Alonso.

It marked his first points of this season, and RB’s first since completing their major off-season rebrand, as well as undergoing a technical overhaul which now sees them taking components from Red Bull.

That has significantly improved RB’s performance compared to 12 months ago, with Tsunoda left highly impressed in Melbourne.

“It’s just actually very impressive how our car is performing a lot differently compared to last year,” Tsunoda told select media including RacingNews365. “Consistently, in a couple of corners, we are using a higher gear compared to last year’s car.

“We knew that last year’s off-season especially, we struggled a lot, so I think the team has done a significant job.

“I think the massive, massive work to improve ourselves, improve our car, the amount of upgrades we brought second half [of last season] was like almost every race, it’s definitely hard work that has paid off.”

Immediate comfort

Tsunoda was solid from the start in Australia and again asserted his place as the Faenza-based team’s leader.

The Japanese driver was significantly quicker than eight-time F1 race winner Daniel Ricciardo, with the result having left the 23-year-old delighted after two frustrating races in Bahrain and particularly in Saudi Arabia.

“The car felt good straight away from FP1 and we just put it all together,” he added.

“In the end, the race wasn’t easy. A couple of teams picked up the pace quite a lot, but we were able to maximise performance and the opportunity, so I’m very happy. The team did a fantastic job.”

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