Yuki Tsunoda (AT04-04, Car 22)
First Practice Session – Best lap: 1:12.749, pos. 9th, 21 laps
Second Practice Session – Best lap: 1:11.720, pos. 5th, 31 laps
“I was obviously in the car when Daniel crashed, but he was competitive and doing really well. I saw him after he got back, and he still had a smile on his face. He is such a positive and strong guy, I hope he recovers quickly and is back in the car soon!
“I finished high on the leaderboard after practice today, and Daniel also showed good performance. I didn’t expect that much pace from the car, to be honest, I think we’re in good shape and just have to put it all together. Daniel on the hard compound tyre was immediately strong, and I was comfortable on the soft tyres too, so I’m really optimistic. The car feels good, especially in the short runs, but I found more limitations during the long run, so we’ll have to look into why. The inconsistent wind makes things trickier, but so far, it’s been okay. Other than that, it was a positive Friday on my side of the garage.”
Daniel Ricciardo (AT04-03, Car 3)
First Practice Session – Best lap: 1:12.990, pos. 13th, 26 laps
Second Practice Session – Best lap: 1:13.096, pos. 20th, 7 laps
“I was very excited to be back after the break. The day was going pretty well. We made some changes for FP2 and the few laps I did on the hard tyre before the crash felt good; we were building up and improving. At that time, we were pretty competitive, and I was feeling positive.
“I remember coming into Turn 3. I had already gotten into the corner and then saw Piastri, so it was either hit him or the wall. When I hit the wall, I didn’t have enough time to take my hands off the steering wheel, so the wheel came and hit my hand. It’s really unfortunate and frustrating, but I’ll try to recover as quickly as I can. Obviously, I’d love to get back soon, but I also want to ensure we do things the right way, so I come back strong and competitive. I wish the team well, and I’m sorry for the change in plans again. It’s a chance for Liam to have a go, and I wish him and the team a strong weekend.”
Jonathan Eddolls (Chief Race Engineer)
“The summer break was a great opportunity for the team to recharge the batteries in preparation for the busy second half of the season. During that time, we had devised a busy test plan for Zandvoort. With Spa having been a Sprint, there was little opportunity for testing on Friday, so the test matrix had built up. Today, we ran with rakes on Yuki’s car in FP1 for aero correlation and completed several other aerodynamic test items across the two cars. Being surrounded by sand, the track always starts very dusty and has high evolution, so the lap times continue to improve through the session, and with it, the balance changes. Overall, both drivers were happy with the balance in FP1, with just minor tuning for FP2.
“We ran the hard compound tyre at the start of FP2, and Daniel was looking very competitive but, unfortunately, had to avoid Piastri, who crashed just ahead. In doing so, he also hit the barrier and, as a result, hurt his hand. Daniel was taken to the hospital for further checks, which confirmed he had broken a metacarpal on his left hand. The whole team wishes him a quick recovery. Yuki’s short run on the soft compound looked competitive, and we hope to be able to fight for a place towards the front of Q2 in tomorrow’s qualifying.
“With Daniel recovering, we welcome Liam back to the team to drive his car, but this time in a much more competitive situation. It has all happened very quickly, but Liam has shown he is more than ready to step up to the challenge, and he has the whole team behind him.”