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Golf has become quite a popular retreat for many F1 drivers. Chief amongst them are drivers like Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz who boast enough talent to take the sport seriously, too. Be that as it may, a young F1 star himself has started developing a rather dangerous affinity for the sport.

Yuki Tsunoda is quickly becoming a bonafide threat to the established order. Don’t get us wrong, though. He isn’t going to trouble the top 3 in an AlphaTauri. However, the way he’s been performing, it won’t be long before a driver finds himself looking in the rearview mirror and Tsunoda’s signing his contract. That being said, for the good of F1 and the popularity of the sport in Japan, it’s best if Tsunoda stuck to just the sport of racing!

Yuki Tsunoda risks F1 career for Golf

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What’s a Formula 1 driver who can’t see, right? Well, someone didn’t send the young Japanese driver a memo. While he still has a lot to do when it comes to sharpening his Golfing skills as evidenced by his humbling defeat to Alex Albon‘s professional Golfer GF, Lily Muni He during last year’s US GP in Texas, health and safety should also be at the top of that list.

During a recent episode of the Pitstop Podcast, Daniel Ricciardo‘s former trainer, who now services Tsunoda revealed how he almost took the Japanese’s eye out one day whilst playing a round of Golf.

He was quoted as saying, “He rolled back and forth in pain and held his eye. It was my new job and I completely freaked out and ran to the bar. I asked, ‘Are you okay?’, and all I heard was ‘ouch’.”

Read More: Helmut Marko Points at Strict $10,000,000 Obstacle Which Saves Sergio Perez From Looming Threat

But how did Michael Italiano even manage to aim at Tsunoda’s eyes?

Tsunoda’s lucky escape

This freaky mishap Italiano referred to occurred just before the 2023 season commenced. While Tsunoda luckily escaped without any serious injuries, how did a Golf ball strike him in the face in the first place?

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Italiano narrated, “He [Yuki Tsunoda] grabbed the golf ball, and he’s just lobbed it onto my shin. Obviously, it hurt. He’s giggling because you know, good thing about me and Yuki, we banter each other quite a lot. So I let him go. And then he starts, he took the foam roller and start rolling his back. So I grabbed the golf ball, and then as I was walking to get the spiky ball, I just threw the golf ball.”

“I wasn’t even looking, and I just thought, I’ll just lob it and it’ll probably get him in the shin or something. I’ve lobbed it and he’s rolling on his back. And it has hit him straight in the eye. Like, right eye. And I even heard the pop, he hit it clean. Golf balls are hard and it was a fair, decent lob.”

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Is Tsunoda the finest young talent we’ve seen in a while in Formula 1?

Written by

Anirban Aly Mandal

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Anirban Aly Mandal is a senior F1 writer at EssentiallySports, with over 500 articles published on the platform. Anirban's love for F1 started when he discovered a copy of F1 2014 while playing on his computer, and he has since then dived deep into the world of motorsports. Anirban's expertise goes beyond just writing - he has also written several academic papers focused on the domain of motorsports.
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Edited by

Varunkumaar Chelladurai