Lawson delivers AlphaTauri best result of 2023 with Singapore points
By Mat Coch
Monday 18th September, 2023 - 4:07am
Ninth place in the Singapore Grand Prix marked the first world championship points for Liam Lawson and the best result of the season for Scuderia AlphaTauri.
The New Zealander was running 10th as he started the final lap but gained a place when George Russell crashed out midway around the final tour.
It was another in a string of impressive performances for the substitute driver, who was thrust into action midway through the Dutch Grand Prix weekend when Daniel Ricciardo broke his hand.
“I’m just trying to maximise every race, every session, and finish as high as we can,” Lawson said of his Singapore performance.
“Today that was points, which is great. We’ll try and do even more hopefully in the future for if I get the chance to drive again.”
Lawson qualified 10th, the sole Red Bull representative in the final phase of qualifying, and ran in the top 10 for much of the final half of the race itself.
He’d dropped two places by the end of the opening lap, a result of a slow start, before racing his way back into contention.
“For me, the start I need to get on top of because it’s now two weekends in a row that I’ve watched the start, basically, and lost a couple of positions,” he reasoned.
“It’s just making our life more difficult, so that’s really the biggest loss of the race, and that’s on my part.
“For the rest, I think we extracted everything out of the car,” he added.
“We didn’t quite have the race pace to be honest, we kind of felt going into the race it was going to be a little bit difficult because we felt this on Friday as well, but we tried to correct it as much as we could, so I think we maximised.”
That saw Lawson race his way forward and allowed him to entertain the prospect of scoring his first championship points.
“I think when maybe 20 laps to go before Max [Verstappen] and the Red Bulls were coming back,” Lawson said when asked when he began to think points were on the table.
“At that point, I thought we had a chance, then I felt like it was slipping away again.
“I guess when Checo [Sergio Perez] and [Alex] Albon had their fight, and Albon went back, that was when I felt a bit more I guess comfortable that like we could at least score P10.
“Obviously it was a bonus – I mean, not a bonus to see somebody crash out for George, but for us obviously it means we get an extra point.”
The result makes Lawson just the sixth driver from New Zealand to score world championship points, joining Bruce McLaren, Chris Amon, 1967 world champion Denny Hulme, Howden Ganley, and Brendon Hartley.