Round 7 proved to be a coming of age for Yuki Tsunoda, with the Jenzer Motorsport driving scoring his first win of the campaign, at a track that he had never previously set foot on.
That has been a familiar theme for the Japanese driver this season, who admitted post-race that “four or five” of the circuits this season, have been complete unknowns for him. That would go some way to explaining his under the radar start to the season.
The Red Bull F1 junior appears to have truly turned a corner now. Two points’ finishes from seven, have become seven from seven, and two consecutive podiums have now been translated into a win.
“Honestly I'm really happy,” he elated. “I aimed to be first here right from the beginning of the season, but the beginning of the race was really difficult. This is my first time here.
“I think there may have been four or five circuits that I'd never been to before this season, so it's really difficult, but I've enjoyed the season and being in the team. It's really good.”
But has what changed for the 19-year-old? Monza was another unknown circuit and damp conditions wouldn’t make the race any easier, neither would a P6 start.
Yet, by the exit of the first turn, he had already lunged to third, on a notoriously tricky corner, which had already gotten the better of more experienced drivers that weekend – both in F3, and F2.
When asked what was different, he tracked back to Budapest and pinpointed his struggles in Qualifying – start the weekend right, and it can breed success. “We looked at the races we'd done before and how we could work on making our results better,” he assessed. “I had really struggled during qualifying at the start of the season. I've also tried to improve warming up the tyres.
"I think that's the main thing that I've changed a lot since Qualifying in Budapest. It helps a lot. But still, I have more to improve. I've made big mistakes sometimes during qualifying so I want to improve on that and take pole position in Russia.” Then, follows that familiar them again: “I've never been there before.
“I just try hard at every round to get a good result, so for my first win at Monza is good. I'd like to dedicate my first win to Anthoine Hubert.”
Tsunoda sits eighth in the Formula 3 Championship ahead of the final weekend in Sochi, at the end of September.