Tsunoda hails incredible 'confidence building' P4 in Abu Dhabi

© XPB 

AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda says he'll be heading into his winter break with his confidence rebuilt after capping off his rookie campaign in Formula 1 with an "incredible" fourth-place finish in Abu Dhabi.

The young Japanese driver's impressive drive at Yas Marina went a bit under the radar amid all the drama that played out at the front between F1's title contenders Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

But Tsunoda, who outqualified in Abud Dhabi his rapid teammate Pierre Gasly for the first time this season, was on a charge from the outset.

The 21-year-old ran as high as third in the first half of the race before stabilizing his position among the top-seven after the pitstop rotations and progressing up to fourth by the chequered flag, finishing hot on the heels of third-placed man, Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, at the end of the race's dramatic final lap.

"I’m so happy, what an incredible result to end the season with," said Tsunoda.

"I think overall this weekend the car has been really strong, I didn’t expect the race pace to be quite as good but in the end it has been a great day."

Tsunoda's impressive end-of-season performance was not unlike his opening salvo in Bahrain back in March when he steered his AT-02 to P9 on his F1 debut.

However, between his two bookend events of 2021, it was a story of inconsistency and mishaps, especially in the first half of the year.

"It’s amazing to be finishing the season on such a high," he said.

"It’s been a long journey getting back to this point. But I’ve really rebuilt my confidence and it’s great heading into the off-season with this incredible result."

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