28 Aug 2023

Lawson far from satisfied with F1 debut

8:31 am on 28 August 2023
Alpha Tauri's New Zealand reserve driver Liam Lawson, Dutch Grand Prix, 2023

Alpha Tauri's New Zealand reserve driver Liam Lawson, Dutch Grand Prix, 2023 Photo: AFP

New Zealand motor racing driver Liam Lawson was far from satisfied with his debut race in Formula One.

Lawson finished 13th at the Dutch Grand Prix, which was won by Red Bulls' Max Verstappen.

Lawson was a late call up for the race after AlphaTauri driver Daniel Ricciardo broke his hand in a crash during practice.

21-year old-Lawson drew a 10 second penalty for a pit lane violation early on, but it wasn't his fault as his team had decided to double stack their cars in pit lane when the weather changed.

"The aim was to do all 72 laps today," Lawson said afterwards.

"When I first got on the grid and it started raining, it wasn't the best feeling. After that, we had no choice but to make the pitstop but unfortunately, we got a penalty and lost a huge amount of time during it.

"I think once we got clean air during the second half of the race and then driving on the intermediate tyres at the end, my pace wasn't so bad.

"There's some work to do, but I'm just happy to have gotten through the race, experiencing different conditions and scenarios, to be able to take them forward."

Lawson did finish ahead of team mate Yuki Tsunoda and had the pleasure of overtaking Charles Leclerc on lap 41 before the Ferrari driver retired with a damaged floor.

AlphaTauri's Head of Vehicle Performance, Guillaume Dezoteux was impressed with the Kiwi driver, who last week was racing in the Super Formula Championship in Japan.

"He did a very good job today, learning about the car and adapting to the conditions, which were constantly evolving.

"He made no mistakes and was able to build up the pace on dry tyres, which he was driving on for the first time in our car.

"Overall, it was a difficult weekend. We will review the various decisions made and analyse the data to improve the cars and the decision-making process in such circumstances. Now it's time to prepare for next week's race in Monza, which will hopefully be dry!"

The question now is whether Lawson will race Monza, or if Ricciardo will be fit to return.

Ricciardo has headed to Spain for surgery.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner says Ricciardo is targetting a return for the Singapore Grand Prix on September 15, the round after Monza.