Yuki Tsunoda recorded the best result of his fledgling F1 career with seventh in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix to leave AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost proclaiming his driver's performance over the weekend as his most complete yet.
Tsunoda stole the headlines when pre-season testing drew to a close in Bahrain after setting the second-fastest time of the three-day test behind only Max Verstappen.
But after finishing ninth on his F1 debut at the same circuit, the 21-year-old Japanese then endured a rough ride in the four races that followed, making a string of errors and failing to add to his points tally.
In Azerbaijan, however, Tsunoda demonstrated his pre-season prowess by finishing seventh at a circuit he had never previously visited.
Asked if the weekend during which Tsunoda also reached Q3 for the first time was the driver's "most complete", Tost said: “For me, yes, because he improved a lot.
"We must not forget it was his first time in Baku. Of course, in Bahrain, he scored two points when he finished ninth but he knew the track quite well from Formula 2. When we tested there, we could find a good set-up.
"But in Baku, he didn’t know the track and he immediately got quite familiar with it and he started from the seventh position and finished seventh.
“For me, a really fantastic job from his side, a fantastic performance. We have to work on some things, we know this, but I am confident that we will get everything together because he is a super talent.”
AlphaTauri hope pace not circuit specific
With Pierre Gasly finishing third in Baku, AlphaTauri has enjoyed a marked uptick in performance at the recent two races, both of which have been street tracks.
Questioned if the team can continue its form into the French GP later this month, Tost added: “I hope so but we will see there.
"We improved the car, we brought some new parts on the car in the last races and I hope that this will also enable us to show a good performance in Paul Ricard.”
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