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Yuki Tsunoda

Tsunoda 'unaware' of career-first in Abu Dhabi that equalled Indy 500 winner

Yuki Tsunoda led several laps during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but the Japanese driver has admitted that he wasn't aware he was heading the field at the time.

Tsunoda Abu Dhabi
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To news overview © XPBimages

Yuki Tsunoda has admitted that he had no idea he held the lead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at one stage during the race.

Tsunoda started the event from sixth on the grid following a strong qualifying and was equipped with a set of Medium tyres, as was much of the field.

However, the Japanese driver went deeper into the race than the rest of the pack as he voiced comfort driving on the ageing tyres.

After the race leaders made their first stops Tsunoda was shuffled to the front of the field for a number of laps before making his own pit stop.

The laps at the head of the field come during AlpahTauri Team Principal Franz Tost's final race with the Faenza-based outfit.

In leading the four laps between Laps 18 and 22, Tsunoda became the first Japanese, and second overall, to lead a grand prix following two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato at the 2004 European GP.

Tsunoda ended the race in eighth place and was one of very few drivers to complete it on a one-stop strategy.

Despite his run at the head of the pack Tsunoda has revealed that he wasn't aware of his position at the time.

“I gave it everything,” he told media including RacingNews365.com. “To be honest, I didn't know I was leading the pack, so I'm quite surprised about it.

“Looking back at the first half of the season, we never thought about leading the pack.

“So [a] massive, massive improvement and almost every race this year we've had upgrades, it's crazy and they deserve it.

“I wasn't able to give the biggest gift to Franz [P7 in the Constructors' Championship] but I gave it all and I showed at least my performance as appreciation for him.”

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F1 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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