Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn has labelled AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda as the best rookie the sport has had for several years.

Tsunoda impressed on his F1 debut for AlphaTauri, finishing ninth.

On route to ninth place, the 20-year-old pulled off some impressive overtaking manoeuvers, including one on two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso.

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Tsunoda showed glimpses of his impressive pace during qualifying, where he ended Q1 second fastest overall.

Speaking in his post-race F1 column, Brawn heaped praise on the Japanese driver.

“I’m really impressed with Yuki Tsunoda,” Brawn said. “I met him at the weekend for the first time and he’s a really impressive character. He is quite amusing and his language in the car can be a bit fruity!

“He showed some brilliant spells in the race, which is encouraging considering it was his first F1 race. He is the best rookie F1 has had for years, having been fairly stunning in whatever series he has competed in.

“His promotion by Red Bull looks like a brilliant move. We can all remember the glorious days of full grandstands at Suzuka and the passion of the Japanese fans. I think we are going to have that again, which is incredibly exciting.”

Reflecting on his first F1 race in Bahrain, Tsunoda admitted he was too cautious at the start but was happy with his recovery to ninth.

“First of all, I’ve got to say I’m really happy to score points for the team, it’s a shame for Pierre that he got a bit of a problem in his car. I’m really pleased to score points, also the first time for a Japanese driver in a long time, so I’m really proud of that. 

“I was a bit disappointed with my first lap, I was too cautious to make sure I would get any damage on my car and ended up losing quite a lot of positions. I had to recover a lot of positions from there and that took me a lot of time and tyre life, so it was not a 100 percent performance. But I must say I’m really happy for the first points and also a lot of positive learnings for the future.”