Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo hail ‘massive’ qualifying at F1 Emilia Romagna GP

When Friday’s dual practice sessions came to a close at the Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Visa Cash App RB F1 Team believed they had a chance at seeing both Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda into Q3 on Saturday.

Mission accomplished.

The VCARB drivers turned in matching performances, as both Tsunoda and Ricciardo advanced to Q3 in the same session for the first time all season. Ricciardo squeaked into Q3, edging out Red Bull driver Sergio Pérez for the tenth and final spot in Q3 by just 0.015 seconds. He will start the Emilia Grand Prix in ninth position on Sunday.

As for Tsunoda, he stormed into Q3 on the back of a tremendous run in Q2 that saw him finish the second segment of qualifying up in P2. While he could not match that same pace in Q3, he will start Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in seventh.

Both drivers had lots of positive thoughts following qualifying.

“It was a really good and positive day from a team’s point of view. We are happy as both of us managed to get into Q3. Yuki’s doing a good job and he’s driving well all weekend, feeling really comfortable in the car from FP1,” said Ricciardo in the team’s post-qualifying report. “Qualifying was a better session for me, we made some progress from the start of the weekend as we were struggling a bit more than Yuki. In every lap I did, I was always trying to find a bit more here and there, but the first sector is still the part where I’m struggling quite a lot. That’s where the lap got away from me but we’ll keep looking at it tonight to understand more, and I’ll work on it.

“We’re in a good place and I’m happy and comfortable in the car for the rest of the lap, so it’s a matter of figuring out what I can do better mainly there. We made some improvements but still not enough to fight those guys a bit further up,” added Ricciardo. “Looking at tomorrow, we’re in the first half of the grid which is good, so we’ll try to look at some points by the end of the race. It would be good if both of us get points tomorrow for the home race of the team, so let’s do that!”

Tsunoda opened his remarks with congratulations for his teammate, and the entire organization.

“Congrats to the team, and Daniel as well. We’re showing how much pace the car has, and I think the amount of work the people are doing in the factory is more than we think, so they deserve the credit,” said Tsunoda. “We didn’t expect this much performance but the team is working really hard to develop our car and their effort is massive, more than I can imagine, and it’s paying off because the car is consistently performing really well.

“As a ‘new’ team with many new people, we needed time to blend together and now everyone’s working well and we don’t make many mistakes. They definitely deserve the results and I’m super appreciative of the team for giving me such a nice car, especially at our home race in front of our factory people in the grandstand.”

Tsunoda then admitted that he could have extracted a bit more during Q3, but that the team is in position for a great result on Sunday.

For myself, to be honest, I’m not entirely happy because I didn’t manage to give the maximum in Q3 today, but I think until then it was pretty good,” said Tsunoda. “It was the first time I was able to get through Q2 with one set and that’s definitely a positive. In Q3, the laps I did weren’t amazing, I was expecting more and I could’ve done better. As a driver, it’s always frustrating when you don’t put it all together and there is time left on the table.

“In saying that, this week has been pretty solid so far, so we’ll focus on extracting the maximum performance and finishing strong with both cars tomorrow!”

Racing Director Alan Permane hailed both drivers, noting that the team can “consolidate” their current position in the standings with a solid result in Sunday’s main event.

“A very good day for us. I think Yuki actually finished the session a little frustrated because he went quicker in Q2 than Q3, but nevertheless, a great effort from everybody here and back at both our bases to deliver a car that’s capable of getting both cars into Q3. It’s Daniel’s first Q3 of the season, and I’m sure it’s the first of many more,” said Permane. “We have a good sensible plan of what we’re doing tomorrow. We’re in front of our closest competitors and the aim tomorrow is to of course bring both cars home in the points and consolidate our position in the championship.”

Currently, VCARB sits sixth in the Constructors’ Championship standings, with 19 points on the season. That sees the team 12 points clear of seventh-place Haas, and 23 points behind fifth-place Aston Martin.

But with those four drivers starting behind Tsunoda and Ricciardo, VCARB has a chance to turn a “massive” Saturday, into an even bigger Sunday.

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