R.B. man Tsunoda broke through the apparent barrier between F1’s top and bottom five teams by beating both Aston Martins in Melbourne qualifying. He also outqualified Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton by claiming eighth on the starting grid, just narrowly behind Mercedes’ George Russell.
The Japanese driver couldn’t keep the faster Astons of Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll behind in the race, but a retirement for Max Verstappen allowed him to stay eighth on the road, moving up to seventh after Alonso’s penalty.
“Every lap he was competitive and didn’t do anything wrong, he was calm,” Marko praised Tsunoda’s Melbourne performance talking to Motorsport.com.

Asked if weekends like Australia are helping Tsunoda stake a claim for Sergio Perez’s Red Bull seat in 2025, he cautioned: “As we say, one swallow does not make a summer.

“So, he has to improve more before he can be considered in this direction.”

Helmut Marko, Consultant, Red Bull Racing, Yuki Tsunoda, RB F1 Team

Photo by: Shameem Fahath

As RB leapfrogged Haas in the fight for sixth, team principal Laurent Mekies added: “Yuki executed a fast and well-controlled race to top the whole midfield group and got us our first points of the season.

“He didn’t put a foot wrong all weekend, and with calm and determination got faster session after session.”

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Tsunoda felt his 2024 car was much more consistent than last year’s machine, which makes it easier to put together clean weekends.

“Every race week I’m just resetting myself, at each track we perform a little bit differently,” he said.

“But actually, the good thing is our car is pretty consistent in terms of performance, that we didn’t have last year. We were kind of up and down last year, so that’s one of the strengths.

“It was frustrating the last two races. A couple of situations happened and there was an opportunity that we could score points, and we lost it.

“We knew that we just needed a clean race and I think we achieved it. We didn’t have any mistakes. That’s very important for me and also for a team to have a good confidence for upcoming races.”

Additional reporting by Matt Kew



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