F1 rookie Yuki Tsunoda, who once stood next to Fernando Alonso's car, now beat him on track in his debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix 2021. After the race, Tsunoda described the emotional pass on the double World Champion, revealing his father was a great admirer of the Spaniard. Tsunoda then overtook the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll on the last lap to take ninth place in the Bahrain Grand Prix 2021 standings.
On the one hand, the Bahrain Grand Prix 2021 marked the return of two time Driver's Champion Fernando Alonso while on the other hand, it was a day to remember for debutant Yuki Tsunoda. Alonso had retired from the sport in 2018, citing a lack of on-track racing and predictability of results. Little that he knew that he would have been passed by a debutant on his return to the sport.
At the start of lap 25 of 56, Tsunoda made an audacious pass on Fernando Alonso going into Turn 1 as he outbraked the Spaniard after coming from a long way back. After the race, the Japanese driver revealed that he passed his father's favourite F1 driver. "I got a bit of an emotional thing when I passed Fernando. My father is quite a big Fernando fan, especially his driving style – my father likes how he drives. I think first time my dad saw Fernando was in Suzuka and he said that at the last corner, his acceleration, he was the best driver on the grid," said Tsunoda.
Tsunoda also explained how he studied the way Alonso was driving during the race to help him with his own race. "I drove with [Fernando] for a couple of laps and definitely I learned from him how he was managing the tyres, how he drives every corner, and after I passed him, I just tried to copy how he was driving and for a couple of corners, it was better for my car as well," said the 20-year old. With young guns like Tsunoda impressing on their debuts while experienced drivers like Alonso attempting to demonstrate that they have still got what it takes, the F1 2021 season promises to be one of the best seasons in recent times.
The F1 2021 schedule has the most number of races (23) in an F1 season. The next race on the calendar is the Italian Grand Prix on 16-18 April followed by the Portuguese Grand Prix on 30 April-2 May. Fans can view the entire F1 2021 schedule on the official Formula 1 page.