Yuki Tsunoda admits he didn't expect the support he's received so far, especially from European fans, considering he's only taken part in one F1 race to date.
The Japanese driver will add to his tally this weekend with the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola as he looks to score points in back-to-back races following a ninth place finish in Bahrain.
Tsunoda, who insists he could have done more at the season opener, didn't expect to be so well-received by F1 fans so early in his career. He's looking forward to repaying their enthusiasm starting with this weekend in Italy.
“It was interesting that after Bahrain, I think I got a bigger reaction from European fans than from those in Japan," Tsunoda said in an AlphaTauri press release. "It’s a cultural thing: Japanese fans want to see what I do in a few rounds before getting a proper impression.
"I was surprised at that reaction in Europe. I didn’t expect it, because for me, Bahrain was not a perfect weekend and I was hoping to finish higher. I am happy about the fans’ support, but I don’t feel pressure because of it, I take it as something positive and this weekend I will just get on and do my job.”
Tsunoda is familiar with the Imola circuit, which should bode well for his chances of a strong performance.
"I've already driven there a lot, so I can continue on the same footing as in Bahrain," Tsunoda added. "I will use the experience from the first race and I already have a lot of confidence in the car at Imola. The track has a lot of fast corners.
"I love the fast chicanes, something you don't see much on other circuits. It's a nice characteristic of the circuit. It also goes up and down a lot, I like that too and probably that's why many drivers think the circuit is so beautiful."