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Lawson confirmed as interim Ricciardo stand in

New Zealand driver impressed at maiden outing with AlphaTauri in Zandvoort

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Liam Lawson has been confirmed as Daniel Ricciardo’s interim replacement at AlphaTauri.

Liam Lawson races his AlphaTauri at the Dutch Grand Prix (Image Credit: @AlphaTauriF1 on Twitter)
Liam Lawson races his AlphaTauri at the Dutch Grand Prix (Image Credit: @AlphaTauriF1 on Twitter)

After Daniel Ricciardo’s accident during Friday practice, it was announced that Liam Lawson would replace him for the remainder of the weekend, throwing the Red Bull junior driver in at the deep end. His sink-or-swim debut very much succeeded.

Lawson arrived at the circuit on Saturday, preparing to qualify a car he had never driven. Other than a spin in changeable conditions during free practice, The New Zealander performed well, ending the session P18 2.3 seconds away from the next car and 3.2 seconds slower than teammate Yuki Tsunoda.

Although last in qualifying on Saturday, Lawson had narrowed the gap to the next car to just 1.2 seconds, once again in tricky track conditions. Lawson needed stable weather for the race to learn the car and finish with a decent result. Instead, he would race in one of the most chaotic races of the season, as the weather played havoc with the track.

A recap of Lawson’s baptism of fire

As torrential rain fell in the opening laps of the Dutch Grand Prix, Lawson’s race turned into a baptism of fire. Managing to get back to the pits to change to intermediate tyres, Lawson held up rivals attempting to pit. This resulted in the stewards awarding him a ten-second time penalty awarded for impeding on lap 7.

Serving this on lap ten as he changed to soft tyres, he had to navigate a slippery track on cold, slick tyres. He was back into the pits just seven laps later for medium tyres, as his acclimatisation to the car and team continued in the most tricky of conditions.

From here, he raced under the radar until lap 41. Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari had shown no pace all afternoon due to floor damage, and the AlphaTauri debutant quickly caught him. Lawson battled with and passed the ailing Ferrari twice in a confident display.

Following the restart after the red flag. Lawson visited the pits once more during the changeable conditions. His pace at the end of the race saw him finish P13 ahead of teammate Tsuonda.  The Red Bull Junior driver told he was “happy to get through the race”.

Full statement from AlphaTauri

Following his strong debut, AlphaTauri announced its decision on Monday to retain Lawson as Ricciardo recovers from surgery. The team stated Lawson did a “good job in difficult circumstances”. It also expressed its best wishes to Daniel Ricciardo, stating it hopes he returns “very soon”:

Image Credit: @AlphaTauriF1 on Twitter)
Image Credit: @AlphaTauriF1 on Twitter)

Feature Image Credit: @AlphaTauriF1 on Twitter

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