Yuki Tsunoda

Strong drives from Vips, Tsunoda & Lawson - Paul Ricard FIA F3

#21 Jüri Vips (EST – Hitech Grand Prix Mecachrome Dallara)
Qualifying 1: 7th – Race 1 Grid: 7th – Race 1 Result: 4th
Race 2 Grid top 8 in reverse order: 5th – Race 2 Result: 17th (5 second penalty)
FIA F3 Championship position: 4th – 32 points – after 4 of 16 races

#14 Yuki Tsunoda (JAP – Jenzer Motorsport Mecachrome Dallara)
Qualifying 1: 27th – Race 1 Grid: 27th – Race 1 Result: 7th
Race 2 Grid top 8 in reverse order: 2nd – Race 2 Result: 9th (5 second penalty)
FIA F3 Championship position: 11th – 9 points – after 4 of 16 races

#4 Liam Lawson (NZL – MP Motorsport Mecachrome Dallara)
Qualifying 1: 15th – Race 1 Grid: 15th – Race 1 Result: 9th
Race 2 Grid top 8 in reverse order: 9th – Race 2 Result: 6th
FIA F3 Championship position: 13th – 6 points – after 4 of 16 races

The second round of the FIA F3 championship was full of drama in both races at Paul Ricard and the Red Bull Juniors were in the midst of it all. Yuki Tsunoda put in a stunning drive in Race 1, going from 27th to 7th and briefly led Race 2. Yuri Vips also had a good Race 1 going from P7 to P4 despite the confusion of a cancelled penalty. Liam Lawson's Race 1 was P15 to 9 and then 9 to 6 in Race 2.

Tsunoda storms through

The 19-year-old Japanese seemed the least impressed of anyone at Paul Ricard by his incredible 20 pass race. "Yes, Race 1 was good fore me," he admitted with his usual reserve. "Qualifying had been too bad, we need better. I think we have a car set-up that is not bad for the races but we don't have a qualifying set-up and that cost us a lot this weekend."

"In Race 1 my start was good and I quickly passed 3 or 4 guys. Then I pushed too much and went wide, coming back on track I was last. I settled down and had a good pace so I could pass again and get through to a good finish. It was not too easy but I had a good strong pace."

"In the second race I felt degradation from the beginning but I had quite a good pace, so early on I followed the first guys to save my tyres."

"Then on lap 10 or 11 I passed the first guy, I had strong pace compared to yesterday. So I was leading, then on the straight the 2nd guy tried to pass me, also 3rd guy who picked up the slipstream from both of us. I couldn't stop him so I tried to block the 2nd guy. He was already on the track limit trying to pass. He was behind me and I thought he had no chance to pass, he still kept coming though and went wide. So I got a 5 second penalty."

"Then the degradation got bigger and bigger the rear tyres were really bad and I just had to manage them to the end of the race."

"The track changed a lot from Saturday to Sunday. Yesterday there was not as much rubber. After F1 qualifying, today there was more rubber, more grip and the balance of the car changed quite a lot so I had more degradation today."

Lawson in the points

"It was better than Barcelona but for sure we wanted more from this weekend," admitted the 17-year-old New Zealander. "In yesterday's race we had a good start and some pace early on but didn't manage the tyre situation. They went off very early and then there's nothing you can do, you have to slow down, you are not racing so that was not ideal at all. Still we got P9 out of it from P15 on the grid so it could have been worse."

Today's race should have been better also. I was going forward early but the tyres were going away quite quickly again, I had to drive to conserve them from early on so I didn't have a repeat of Saturday. Then Yuri (Vips) came past. He thought he had cleared me but he hadn't and when he pulled across I had to swerve off the track and that gave me a massive flat spot from lap five. I kept going as well as I could but for the last five laps of the race the car was just about undriveable," concluded the MP Motorsport driver.

Vips very unhappy with his weekend

Today is certainly frustrating," stated the 18-year-old Estonian. "We were a lot slower than in Race 1 because of a combination of different things that led to big tyre degradation."

"Yesterday I think we had one of the fastest cars on the track and the track didn't change so much for today, it felt similar but the tyres just went away," added the Hitech Grand Prix driver who was also penalised 5 second for 'Forcing another driver (Liam Lawson) off the track.'

"In yesterday's race I ended up a bit angry because I was informed on the radio that I had a five second penalty. But when the penalty was canceled I never got the message, strange because the radio seemed to be working."

"It was annoying because I had the pace to do something and was sitting in P4 easing off the throttle down the straights but didn't want to take unnecessary chances to pass as I thought I had the penalty and was nearly 20 seconds ahead of 5th. Still we got some good points yesterday so we at least we had that."