The 21-year-old Japanese driver brought out the red flags in Q1 during qualifying at Paul Ricard when he lost control of his car on his first flying lap and spun backwards into the barriers.

Despite only picking up what appeared to be minor damage to the rear of his AT02, Tsunoda was forced to get out of his car after being unable to find a gear in his attempt to return to the track.

Tsunoda now faces a back-of-the-grid start for the second time this season following his heavy crash at Imola. He also crashed at Baku last time out after reaching Q3 for the first time in 2021.

“It was my mistake today in Qualifying and I want to apologise to the team,” Tsunoda said.

“I just used too much of the yellow curb at turn one and I spun out. I tried to brake as much as possible to avoid contact with the barrier, but it was like skating on ice as I was going backwards.

“It was fairly low impact, but there is some damage to the car so the team will have to work hard tonight to get me ready for tomorrow. The best way to thank the team would be to have a good race tomorrow.

“It’s difficult to overtake here but I’ll push as hard as I can every lap and use every opportunity I get.”

Meanwhile, Tsunoda’s teammate Pierre Gasly advanced into Q3 and outqualfied both McLaren drivers and a Ferrari with a brilliant performance to secure sixth place on the grid for his home race.

“I’m really surprised to be there,” he said. “I struggled a bit all weekend with the car. I didn’t feel so comfortable, been changing the balance with the wind conditions.

“The track layout is quite different than what we experienced in the last few weekends. It was quite difficult, we tried to improve but we didn’t find the right thing but in qualifying we made a couple of changes. I felt like this really went in the right direction and helped us.

“It’s a really positive to split the two Ferraris and also outqualify the McLarens. This was quite intense as well. I was relieved in Q3 – the first lap time was deleted, which we still need to check.

“It’s arguable, but just increasing the pressure and adrenaline for the second attempt, and I was just really happy to put a lap together.”