AlphaTauri are enjoying a productive end to the 2023 season, with Yuki Tsunoda picking up valuable points for AlphaTauri in Saturday's Sprint race in Sao Paulo to narrow the gap to Williams for P7 in the constructors championship
After a disappointing Grand Prix qualifying session on Friday, Tsunoda and team mate Daniel Ricciardo had redeemed themselves in the Sprint Showdown, putting themselves sixth and eighth respectively.
"We made a big comeback today," beamed Tsunoda. "P6 today for the Sprint race shows a big step in the right direction. The car was fun to drive, but we have to understand why there was such a difference between yesterday and today.
"We maximised our opportunity, finishing P6, which is the highest position so far this season,"he pointed out. "With a couple more laps, I might’ve been able to fight for P5 with [Charles] Leclerc ahead of us.
"Now I’m looking forward to racing again tomorrow," he continued. "We’re in a good rhythm now, so we’ll build on it and bring even more performance into tomorrow.
"It won’t be easy because we’re starting further back, but we know our car is good so we’ll overtake as much as possible, with points being possible.”
With neither Williams finishing in the points, Tsunoda's result means AlphaTauri reduces the gap to their rivals by three points, bringing them within nine points of catching them for P7 with tomorrow's race and two more to go.
However Ricciardo missed out on the points today, finishing just outside the top eight. He explained that he wasn't happy with the DRS zones at Interlagos which he felt had worked again him in his battle to overtake Ferrari's Carlos Sainz.
“Everyone was struggling," he told Sky Sports F1 after the finish. "Well, most people in terms of the tyres here, the asphalt - it’s bad.
"We seemed to fight a little bit less than like Carlos in front of us, so I completed a move on him at least twice, maybe more than twice, I can’t remember," he continued.
“But the DRS line with the second detection is in turn two so every time I passed in one, basically waved him back past before turn four. That was extremely frustrating.
"I didn’t really feel I could do much more because obviously trying to pass you go for it but I never got rewarded," he complained.
Ricciardo also lost a place to McLaren's Oscar Piastri at Laranjinha, and said the blame for that one lay on him. “Oscar and I think a couple of others behind us started closing in and then I left the door open in eight,” he admitted. “So that’s my fault, letting Oscar by.”
Fortunately he was able to undo the damage - although by then it was too late to pull off any moves on Sainz and Lewis Hamilton ahead of him to get back into the points.
“I caught Carlos again and with a lap to go we were right behind Lewis and Carlos, both of them were half a second in front. So it was on that hand good," he said. “But ninth on a Saturday is the world’s worst position.
"There’s pros and cons, of course, there’s still things I want to be able to do better. All in all not the worst day.”
Both Tsunoda and and Ricciardo face a tougher time tomorrow in the Grand Prix where they will start from 16th and 17th respectively after a disappointing qualifying on Friday.