Liam Lawson says his F1 debut in the Dutch Grand Prix was an eventful affair that provided him with a full range of learning experiences.
The Red Bull junior was drafted in on the fly on Saturday by AlphaTauri to replace the injured Daniel Ricciardo. But mixed conditions at Zandvoort and a totally unfamiliar car left Lawson with a very steep mountain to climb.
Nevertheless, the 21-year-old acquitted himself well in the wet-dry-wet event, steering clear of trouble and taking a conservative approach to his challenging – and memorable – baptism of fire in F1
“I feel like I had experience in every situation in that race with multiple pit stops, wheel-to-wheel racing, rain, dry so it was a good learning experience,” Lawson said after the race.
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Amid the downpour that hit the track on the race’s opening lap, AlphaTauri opted to pit both its drivers for intermediates early.
However, as the team double stacked its cars, Lawson was delayed and then found himself in the path of Kevin Magnussen, which compelled the stewards to hand him a 10-second penalty for impeding the Haas driver.
“Throughout the race, I was obviously learning a huge amount,” Lawson added. “The first part wasn’t the best we lost a lot of time with the stacking in the pit stop and the penalty.
“That’s all part of it obviously, but in the second half I think I started to get a bit of feeling on the Softs in clean air and on the Inters as well.”
Mid-way through the 72-lap race, Lawson had the privilege of dueling wheel-to-wheel with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, a battle that he called “eventful”.
“Every time I passed him he just passed me back on the straight so it was a little bit frustrating, but obviously it’s good to get experience,” he said.
Taking stock of his F1 debut, Lawson inevitable singled out a few things that he would have perhaps done differently, but overall, he was “reasonably satisfied” with his day.
“Yeah you always look back and I’ll reflect on this and there were definitely things that I would have liked to have done better,” he said. “I think I’m reasonably satisfied with that.”
AlphaTauri officially confirmed on Sunday that Lawson would sub for Ricciardo again at this week’s Italian Grand Prix.
The Aussie underwent surgery to a metacarpal in his left hand on Sunday but the duration of his convalescence is unclear at this stage.
“We are delighted that Daniel’s surgery went well and that he is now on the road to recovery,” the Faenza-based squad said.
“We hope to see him at the track again very soon, but until he is fully fit, we can confirm that Liam, who did a good job in difficult circumstances in Zandvoort, will continue to drive alongside Yuki, starting from our home race this weekend in Monza.”
After Monza, F1 will enjoy a one-week break before the championship resumes in Singapore on September 15.
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