Rookie Yuki Tsunoda excited about F1 debut

Japan's Yuki Tsunoda said he was "excited" to get his rookie Formula One campaign underway, after out-performing Lewis Hamilton and a clutch of other world champions at pre-season testing on Sunday.

The 20-year-old clocked the second-best time of the three-day session at Sakhir, where the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix takes place on March 28.

Tsunoda set his best time of 1min 29.053sec from 91 laps in his Alpha Tauri, beaten only by the 1:28.960 effort from Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

"We've had a few small teething problems but that's exactly what you'd expect from testing," said Tsunoda.

"I'll continue working hard over the next few weeks and I'm excited for it to start."

Mercedes' seven-time world champion Hamilton was fifth fastest overall, while four-time champion Sebastian Vettel (17th), fellow title winners Kimi Raikkonen (fourth) and Fernando Alonso (ninth) all finished behind Tsunoda.

The 1.59m Tsunoda, who replaced Daniil Kvyat in the Alpha Tauri line-up, was named FIA Rookie of the Year in December after finishing third in his debut season with British team Carlin in the Formula 2 championship. - AFP