Lawson backs aggressive qualifying strategy
By Mat Coch
Saturday 23rd September, 2023 - 8:52pm
Liam Lawson stands by Scuderia AlphaTauri’s aggressive approach to qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix despite missing the cut into Qualifying 3.
The New Zealander will line up 11th for Sunday’s race in Suzuka having been beaten by Fernando Alonso to 10th at the end of the session’s second segment.
“We obviously used three sets in Q1 and had a strong car, and then Q2 only had one set,” Lawson said.
“I think looking back, obviously hindsight is a great thing, Yuki [Tsunoda] did a great job to put the car in Q3.
“I think we definitely had the potential, now knowing that we could have done that, but for the information we had, I think we made the right decision.
“But obviously to miss out by such a small margin, I would have loved another set of tyres!”
By burning that extra set of tyres in Qualifying 1 Lawson was left unable to extract the full potential later in the session.
“It’s just that natural progression,” he said when asked what the impact of not having a second set of tyres in Qualifying 2 actually meant.
“I think obviously, from Q1, we would just keep finding time each time and I think in Q2, obviously only having one new set, to have another new set you know little places where you can find time.
“Missing out by such a small margin I think there was definitely a tenth in there we could have found.”
Suzuka is a circuit Lawson knows thanks to his time racing in Super Formula this year.
That has given him half a leg up this weekend by allowing him to more quickly focus on adding performance to the car rather than learning the track.
“It’s definitely an advantage for me but it’s still been a big build-up,” he said.
“It’s so, so different, the car to drive, so it’s been a lot of learning, but it’s definitely helped us I think and hopefully tomorrow we can we can have a strong race as well.”
While Lawson will start 11th, team-mate Tsunoda will line up ninth for Scuderia AlphaTauri.