Tsunoda half-satisfied with F1 debut, overjoyed at passing hero Alonso

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Tsunoda half-satisfied with F1 debut, overjoyed at passing hero Alonso

Brilliant rookie Yuki Tsunoda said he felt only half satisfied with himself on Sunday after he finished ninth in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

The AlphaTauri driver became the first Japanese driver to score points since Kamui Kobayashi for Sauber in 2012 and the first debutant to score in his maiden race since Stoffel Vandoorne for McLaren in 2016.

"I would say I am only 50 per cent happy with myself from this race," he said afterwards.

"But I enjoyed it and I had fun racing against some of my childhood heroes and to overtake Fernando Alonso."

Tsunoda was only five when the now 39-year-old Alonso won his first world title in 2005.

"My father is quite a big Fernando fan. He likes his driving style. The first time my dad saw Fernando was at Suzuka. He said his acceleration from the corner is the best of any driver on the grid.

"I drove with him a couple of laps and I learned from him how he managed the tyres on the corners.

"After I passed him, I tried to copy his driving and a couple of corners were better from my car as well.

"I think these things I learn from him will be big for the future."

At 20, Tsunoda is the youngest driver on the grid and the only one born this century.

str/dj