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Yuki Tsunoda

Tsunoda trick in F1 testing could help explain remarkable pace

The Japanese driver set the fastest lap of F1 testing in Bahrain on Sunday. However, several eagle-eyed fans spotted something that might just explain why he finished just behind Max Verstappen.

To news overview © Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool

Yuki Tsuonda's remarkable pace on the final day of F1 testing was the talk of the paddock, but fans think they've spotted why he went so quick.

It appears as if the Alpha Tauri driver was opening DRS far earlier than some of the other drivers - which, in theory at least, would give him a big advantage over the rest of the drivers.

Tsunoda is set to make his debut in F1 in two weeks time, after finishing third in Formula 2 last season. However, its fair to assume that not many were expecting him to adapt as quickly as he has done to his new machinery - and a whole new series.

While his speed in the final session of testing was impressive, according to some users on the Formula 1 Reddit - and on Twitter - there is an explanation as to why he trumped Verstappen in the timesheets.

As the Tweet above demonstrates, Tsunoda was opening up DRS on the straight far earlier than most of the other F1 drivers. Doing so does partially help explain some of the rookie's speed, but even without it, the Honda power train does look much improved.

The final DRS zone in Bahrain on the main straight started 170m from the exit of Turn 15 last year. In the image shown, that is in line with the blue Aramco sign, showing just how much earlier Tsunoda had DRS activated.

The data also points to a much earlier DRS usage than typically permitted. Tsunoda comfortably topped the speed trap on the final day of pre-season testing with a top speed of 322 km/h, finishing 3 km/h clear of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in second place.

The 20-year-old's antics caught the attention of Lando Norris, who jokingly commented, "How the DRS" on one of Tsunoda's Instagram posts.

Nevertheless, even with the assumed advantage that provides, it was still a very fruitful three-day test for the young driver - and the Alpha Tauri team as a whole.


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