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Tsunoda leaves Ricciardo in his wake to win the Miami Grand Prix opener

Japanese F1 star Yuki Tsunoda has declared he will ‘sleep easy’ ahead of this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix after winning a head-to-head mini jet boat battle against eight-time F1 winner Daniel Ricciardo on Miami’s Biscayne Bay. Here is all you need to know:

The Miami waterways were transformed into a racetrack with the unexpected scene of Scuderia AlphaTauri’s Tsunoda and Oracle Red Bull Racing’s Ricciardo battling it out aboard mini jet boats with the showdown of the first round of a (Un)Serious Race Series between the two Formula 1 teams.

Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo at Red Bull Unserious at Miami Beach in Miami, FL, USA. Picture: Garth Milan / Red Bull Content Pool

After a fast start, Tsunoda was passed by Ricciardo mid-race but pegged back the Australian’s advantage to cross the line first. The result makes Tsunoda a two-time winner in Miami, following his victory against double F1 world champion Max Verstappen 12 months ago when they raced 700hp V8-powered swamp buggies.

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Tsunoda beamed: “My first win in Miami was in a swamp buggy and I beat Max. This one was kind of similar, where I got overtaken in the middle of the race and then I overtook back at the end of the race. Two wins in Miami, it’s good. I am super happy with today’s result. I am really competitive and if I had lost, I would not have had a good sleep tonight, but it seems like I will have a good sleep and be ready for race week.”

Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo at Red Bull Unserious at Miami Beach in Miami, FL, USA. Picture:  Garth Milan / Red Bull Content Pool

Just over six feet long (2.08 meters), boasting 28hp and capable of speeds up to 30mp/h (48km/h), the boats were built in collaboration between Torch Craft Marine and Jetstream Adventure Boats. After being narrowly beaten, Ricciardo declared the technical specifications suited Tsunoda better.

Ricciardo declared: “When I first saw the mini jet boat, I thought that for once, Yuki can have the last laugh. Normally he’s the one getting a lot of stick about his size. He actually fit pretty good in this, and I looked out of place. It was built for Yuki and that’s about it.”

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“I blame the vehicle, it is always the vehicle, never the person behind the wheel,” the Aussie cheekily added. “With the result, there are no losers today, there are lessons learned. There are triumphant tribulations and joys that lie ahead and that is where we’re going to leave it.”

Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda competing in the Unserious Race in Miami, Florida, USA. Picture:  Garth Milan / Red Bull Content Pool

Buoyed by his win in the biggest match race in Miami, Tsunoda will take extra motivation into the second-ever Miami Grand Prix on Sunday. He explained: “I think this win will help my motivation for this week. I had a good start to race week after my swamp buggy win last year, so it seems like it is a similar race week so far. Now I just need to score points and put it all together.”

The (Un)Serious Race Series will continue ahead of a handful of Grand Prix this season. Scuderia AlphaTauri holds the upper hand and has put pressure on Oracle Red Bull Racing to take a win in a yet-to-be-announced unserious race vehicle, in a surprising race location.

Content provided by RedBull, via Reuters.

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