Tsunoda felt emotional passing Alonso on debut

Formula One rookie Yuki Tsunoda said he felt emotional overtaking boyhood hero Fernando Alonso on his debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Tsunoda turned in a series of impressive overtakes on his way to ninth position in Bahrain, making him the first rookie to score on debut since Stoffel Vandoorne in 2016.

The move which stood out to Tsunoda was a mid-race pass of two-time world champion Alonso, who was competing in an F1 race for the first time since 2018.

"It was a bit emotional when I passed Fernando," Tsunoda said. "Last time I saw him, 12 or 13 years ago, when I was seven or eight years old!

"So, into Turn 1, I just trusted Fernando's skills and just launched it - you know, like a rookie. I felt a bit sorry about it, but I just launched it from pretty far away, so there were a few emotional things. Of course it's not the same car but I was happy for that."

Alonso's famed aggressive driving style is what caught the eye of the Tsunoda family.

"My father is quite a big Fernando fan, especially his driving style. My father likes his driving.

"The first time my dad saw Fernando was at Suzuka and he said his acceleration from the last corner is the best of any driver on the grid. So, of course, I also followed Fernando."

Tsunoda said he was able to mirror Alonso's driving for a short amount of time and saw an instant improvement to his own style.

"I drove with him a couple of laps and I learned from him how he managed the tires on the corners, how he was driving every corner. After I passed him, I tried to copy his driving and in a couple of corners were better from my car as well.

"Hopefully I don't have to drive against him the next time - I want to be further ahead to start."