Yuki Tsunoda admits he had a ‘heart attack’ at one point during the US GP due to AlphaTauri’s radio message

Yuki Tsunoda reflected on his team trying to get him to box to challenge for the fastest lap at the US GP.


Yuki Tsunoda admits he had a ‘heart attack’ at one point during the US GP due to AlphaTauri’s radio message

Yuki Tsunoda (via imago)

Yuki Tsunoda drove a brilliant Grand Prix for AlphaTauri as the driver earned his team 5 points, which is more than any other AlphaTauri driver has earned. Tsunoda officially finished P8, gaining 3 points (originally being P10 on track and getting promoted two places after Hamilton’s and Leclerc’s disqualification from the race). The Japanese driver displayed something even more impressive in his final lap of the Grand Prix, Yuki Tsunoda claimed the Fastest Lap and thus earned 2 more points to add to his tally of 5.

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The driver, while being ecstatic about claiming the Fastest Lap time on the very last lap, spoke about a radio call that sent chills down his spine. Tsunoda had been overtaken by Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll as was in P10 with 2 laps to go. Alex Albon, who was in P11 at the time, was over 20 seconds behind Tsunoda. This massive gap was spotted by AlphaTauri as they planned to box Tsunoda and have him safely challenge for the Fastest Lap on soft tires while still maintaining on-track position.

The Radio call that notified the driver about coming into the pits was initially misread as a disaster call by Tsunoda. The Driver hilariously recounted the radio call [as reported by RaceFans].

To be honest I got a heart attack when I had to box because I thought it’s like something, an issue from the engine or whatever. But after I heard we go for the fastest lap, then I was relieved. But still, there was a bit of pressure on, we were able to still score the fastest lap, so it was good.

Yuki Tsunoda sets Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton’s performance as his target

Despite being Red Bull’s B team, AlphaTauri faced challenges with the AT03, particularly a notable lack of top speed that rendered it one of the slower cars in the early races of the 2023 season. Tsunoda, however, fondly recollects the first half of the season, where he achieved consistent 10th and 11th-place finishes.

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Yuki Tsunoda (via imago)
Yuki Tsunoda (via imago)

Yuki Tsunoda emphasized the crucial skill of extracting the maximum potential from the provided car, a talent he believes drivers like Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have mastered. Tsunoda acknowledged the room for improvement in his race craft.

I would say I was pretty happy with the first half of it consistency-wise, especially with the difficult situation and because of the difficult performance from the car. I know I need more. Compared to Lewis or Max, there is still a lot more room to improve.

With his seat secured for the 2024 season, Tsunoda anticipates a fierce battle to retain it for 2025, as the talented Liam Lawson vies for the same spot. His recent achievement of the Fastest Lap at COTA could serve as a confidence booster as he strives for a brighter future in Formula 1.