Lawson pleased after maximising Japanese GP
By Mat Coch
Monday 25th September, 2023 - 12:47pm
Liam Lawson was left pleased with his performance in the Japanese Grand Prix as he came home 11th as the lead Scuderia AlphaTauri.
The New Zealander gained two places off the start, clearing Yuki Tsunoda before capitalising on Sergio Perez’s woes to sit ninth at the end of the opening lap.
He ultimately drifted just outside the points but was left feeling he’d got everything possible out of the event.
“We just didn’t quite have the speed in the long runs, I think,” Lawson observed.
“To be honest, we weren’t super-confident after practice. We knew that our long-run pace wasn’t amazing.
“Everybody in that top bunch pretty much finished, other than maybe Checo [Perez], but everybody else was finishing, and we just didn’t quite have the speed for the Alpines and the Aston.
“I think we maximised,” he added.
“It’s a shame to be close but unfortunately not quite.”
While missing out on a second-successive points finish, Lawson continued his impressive run.
He finished ahead of Tsunoda on Sunday, after building into the weekend. He never put a wheel wrong and delivered all that could have been expected of it.
That came against the backdrop of the fact he wouldn’t be on the grid in 2024, and the questions that followed, being made public on Saturday.
It’s a performance and mentality that adds further credibility to his F1 cause, which is likely to continue into the Qatar Grand Prix in two weeks.
With Daniel Ricciardo still recovering from a broken hand, a return in two weeks would be considered early, though not entirely possible.
However, with little to be gained from such an outing, it’s expected the Australian will sit the event out to focus on his recovery without the same time pressures, ahead of a racing return at the United States Grand Prix.
“It’s not for me to decide,” Lawson said of his future.
“From my side, I’m trying to extract everything out of every session. I’m trying to show something each time I’m in the car, and obviously my goal is ultimately to be in Formula 1.
“But I’m not the one who gets to decide when that happens.
“I’ll prepare for it,” he added of the prospect of continuing in Qatar.
“I think the decision will be made closer to the time to give them the best chance possible, but for now it’s normal preparations.”