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Yuki Tsunoda

Tsunoda questions 'unfair' Haas F1 strategy

Haas deployed an unusual strategy during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix which allowed Nico Hulkenberg to score a P10 result in Jeddah.

Magnussen Tsunoda Saudi Arabia
To news overview © XPBimages

Yuki Tsunoda has declared that Haas' strategy to score points in Saudi Arabia was “unfair”.

Kevin Magnussen's race in Jeddah was largely undone when he picked up a duo of 10-second time penalties - first for making contact with Alexander Albon and the other for overtaking Tsunoda off the track.

After moving ahead of Tsunoda, Magnussen dialled back his pace and allowed teammate Nico Hulkenberg ahead to grow a gap large enough to ensure he emerged in the point-scoring positions after his pit stop.

Hulkenberg re-joined the race in 10th place and bagged Haas' first point since last year's Singapore Grand Prix.

While Tsunoda has questioned the ethics around Haas' race execution, the Japanese driver conceded that he made a mistake by letting Magnussen through for position at Turn 2 on lap 29.

“It was pretty frustrating [but] probably my mistake was I let Kevin by,” Tsunoda told media including RacingNews365.

“But at the same time, he overtook me with all four wheels outside [the track]. OK, he got a 20 second penalty but he was just cruising around.

“That’s a bit unfair but at the same time the truth is I also let him go, so that was my mistake

“We really struggled with the pace from the beginning, I didn't have much grip. I struggled to even stay in the track.”

Magnussen did a 'good job for the team'

The result marked a valuable moment for Haas as it bagged its first point under new Team Principal Ayao Komatsu's leadership.

After finishing at the bottom of the standings last year, Haas was expecting to be competing at the root of the pecking order this season.

Having deployed an aggressive team strategy in order to bring home the result, Tsunoda stated that he understands the situation from Haas' perspective.

“His perspective, I think he [Magnussen] did a good job for the team,” Tsunoda said. “It's a team sport in the end.

“Nico got to score points so he did a good job but the same time, it’s pretty frustrating.”

Following Magnussen's illegal overtake, Tsunoda attacked the Dane at Turn 1 and briefly moved ahead on lap 29.

However, he was then shuffled wide on the exit of Turn 2 as Magnussen battled back, much to Tsunoda's annoyance

“To score points, you try to do whatever he can do to stay in the position,” he said.

“It was pretty dangerous and we almost crashed at Turn 2. I have to understand, I wouldn’t say [it was] fair, but I have to understand it.”

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