Toro Rosso drivers praise Yamamoto after practice debut

Toro Rosso drivers Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly believe Formula 1 rookie Naoki Yamamoto did “really well” and a “very good job” on his debut in Japanese Grand Prix practice.

Toro Rosso drivers praise Yamamoto after practice debut

Reigning SUPER GT and Super Formula champion Yamamoto, a Honda-backed driver, stepped into Gasly’s car for FP1 at Suzuka.

Yamamoto lapped 17th-fastest, 3.2s off the pace and one tenth slower than Kvyat albeit on a different programme, and was the busiest driver in the session as he racked up 30 laps.

Asked by Motorsport.com to assess Yamamoto’s performance, Kvyat said: “I think he did a good job, a very good job.

“Obviously he is local, so he knows his way around here. I told him to turn left out of the pit box, but he didn't!

“We were on quite different programs with the tyres, it was hard to judge, but what I saw it looked like he definitely knows how to drive a racing car, especially around here, and he is a nice guy as well.”

Read Also:

Gasly was teammates with Yamamoto in Super Formula in 2017 and received an apology from the 31-year-old for taking his seat in FP1.

Though Gasly admitted it’s “never great” to miss the opening session, particularly given final practice has been cancelled at Suzuka amid the threat of Typhoon Hagibis, he said it was a better experience given Yamamoto was the driver he moved aside for.

“He helped me a lot that year [in Super Formula], I know how nice he is and how much he wanted to try F1,” said Gasly.

“And after the session I asked him if he enjoyed it and he told me, ‘The power is amazing! I know that he really enjoyed it which was the main thing and he did really well as well.

“We managed to get almost everything we wanted.”

Asked if he thought the team was impressed, Yamamoto himself said: “I’d like to say yes but for sure I wanted to make a more good result – I’m a racing driver, this position is not satisfying.

“But the most important is I give great information for the team. This weekend I wish a good result for the team, especially Pierre, who gave me his car. I’m grateful to him for that." 

Though Yamamoto was not thrilled to finish the session 17th, he admitted his performance relative to Kvyat was a “positive point”.

He said it was a more “nervous” experience by driving in front of his home crowd, and was left with “no words – a really, really exceptional time”.

Yamamoto highlighted the power, weight and tyres as the major differences between grand prix machine and his Super Formula car.

“At the beginning of the session, it was amazing power,” he said. “I was very, very surprised.

“I’ve never felt that much power. The throttle travel is longer. At the beginning of the session I wasn’t used to it but by the end I was a bit used to it.

“It’s maybe nearly 1000bhp, 900bhp power in F1, Super Formula is nearly 600bhp.

“The second different point is car weight. Super Formula is 600kg but F1 is heavier, more than 100kg heavier. This is a lot of influence on car balance and feeling.”

He added: “It is difficult to find a good working window of the Pirelli tyre. I never experienced a Pirelli tyre, but the team helped a lot.”

Asked how he found the experience as a whole, Yamamoto said: “I learned something about the car. The balance had a bit of understeer, especially mid-corner. Low-speed corners was a little tricky.

“I gave as much good information as possible to the team. This is my home grand prix, it’s a lot of fun coming to Suzuka, even just for Friday FP1.

“I’m really surprised and would like to say thank you to everybody, Honda, Toro Rosso and my fans.”

shares
comments
Williams trials experimental front wing in Suzuka

Previous article

Williams trials experimental front wing in Suzuka

Next article

Renault drivers explain torrid Friday at Suzuka

Renault drivers explain torrid Friday at Suzuka
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Japanese GP
Sub-event FP1
Drivers Pierre Gasly , Daniil Kvyat , Naoki Yamamoto
Teams AlphaTauri
Author Scott Mitchell
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warm-up. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory Prime

The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy Prime

The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion Prime

How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion

As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival

Formula 1
Apr 29, 2021