Tsunoda's Japanese GP weekend ‘at the level of Verstappen’ - Marko


Red Bull's Helmut Marko was effusive in his praise for Yuki Tsunoda after last weekend’s Japanese GP, insisting that the local hero performed flawlessly and at the level of Max Verstappen, Fernando Alonso and others at Suzuka.

Tsunoda’s weekend in his home country undeniably exceeded expectations.

On Saturday, he comfortably outqualified RB teammate Daniel Ricciardo to claim the final spot in Q3, while he relentlessly battled on race day to score the final championship point in the running order.

In anticipation of lengthy opening stint, the Japanese charger launched his race on the medium compound, which predictably set him back at the start.

However, a first-lap crash involving his RB teammate Daniel Ricciardo triggered a red flag and a restart. This time, Tsunoda gambled on the softer tyres, which offered better initial grip.

The strategic move paid off spectacularly, with Tsunoda gaining three positions on the opening lap thanks to a series of daring overtaking maneuvers that Marko called “the show of the day”.

“At the second start, Yuki did sensationally well,” the Red Bull motorsport told Speed Week. “His overtaking manoeuvres were the show of the day.

“The fans were completely over the moon. His weekend was at the level of Max, Alonso and co. Flawless, a great performance under the pressure of his home race.”


Marko’s praise will undoubtedly provide Tsunoda with a timely boost of confidence as he eyes Red Bull Racing’s coveted available seat for 2025.

However, incumbent Sergio Perez will have done his chances of extending his allegiance to Red Bull no harm at all following another strong display, the Mexican beaten to pole by Verstappen by just 0.066 seconds on Saturday and concluding his race in the runner-up spot behind his unassailable teammate.

“Checo was also very solid,” acknowledged Marko. “He was unlucky at the pit stop, but he got himself back into the game with a great manoeuvre against Hamilton in the [130R] corner.

“He’s definitely having his best season with us so far.”


Red Bull team principal Christian Horner reiterated in Japan that Red Bull will take its time to decide its 2025 line-up.

Marko echoed the Briton’s view, insisting the Milton Keynes-based outfit won’t be pressured into making a call by the current dynamics of F1’s drivers’ market.

“In my opinion, the fact that the transfer rumor mill is already cooking like this at the beginning of April is due to several factors,” he said.

“First: Hamilton announced his move to Ferrari so early. And if ‘radio paddock’ is to be trusted, Audi wants a decision from Carlos Sainz [Jnr] very soon. Aston Martin is also putting pressure in several directions.

“We do not take part in these games. We won’t hear from Red Bull Racing until the middle of the season about what’s going on in terms of personnel.”

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