AlphaTauri: “The whole team has been very impressed” by Liam Lawson’s F1 performances

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The Japanese Grand Prix marks Liam Lawson’s fourth race with Scuderia AlphaTauri since taking Daniel Ricciardo’s seat due to the Australian’s unfortunate injury.

It’s a circuit Lawson is familiar with as he’s raced at Suzuka during the Super Formula season, and he finished P4 that day. FP2 on Friday was extremely encouraging for the Kiwi as he outpaced teammate and home hero Yuki Tsunoda by 0.037s, finishing 15th.

Speaking about Lawson during the two practice sessions on Friday, AlphaTauri’s Head of Trackside Engineering Jonathan Eddolls praised Lawson for his calmness and maturity since stepping in for his debut at Zandvoort.

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

“I think probably how level-headed he is. How solid he’s been and how he’s not let the pressure get to him – because it’s obviously a big jump for him. I think, stepping in on the Friday night in Netherlands, when it was forecast rain, the next day, was a bit of a shock to him. But he quickly got over that, got up to speed with the car, the tyres, difficult race, difficult conditions.

“But I think the thing that’s most impressed me is how solid he is. In qualifying, he’s just chipping away, building it up step-by-step. We focus on like a weekend plan, aiming for that lap in qualifying.

“And I think Singapore, another difficult track, he’d not been there before, we used the three sets in Q1, just to ensure that he got there. And then he did a solid Q2. And I think the other point in the race he was keeping some fast cars at bay. And you felt confident that he could do that for a while.

“So yeah, I think the whole team has been very impressed with him.”

In regards to feedback and what Lawson wants from the car, the young Kiwi has been clear and precise.

“So, the feedback is very, very good in terms of the car and what he needs.

“Obviously, Formula 1 racing is new, so during the race, the information still is flowing more towards him than it is to us, as expected.

“But I think in terms of his feedback of the general characteristics of the car, how the tyres are behaving, it’s very good.”

In regards to Lawson’s potential peak performance, Eddolls sounded very optimistic about what the 21-year-old can do in the future if he got an opportunity.

As Logan Sargeant has shown, it’s not easy to be a rookie in Formula One. However, Lawson has been outstanding to date and is already properly pushing experienced teammate Yuki Tsunoda.

“Yeah, I mean, from what we’ve seen so far, you know, he’s got in and he’s got up to speed very, very quickly.

“You know, Yuki has still, just, got the edge on him, which is totally to be expected with the experience.

“But I think the fact that he’s gone in, he’s been able to qualify well, he’s got into Q3, score points very early in a car that’s not the most competitive and at times is difficult to drive.

“You know, I think, from what we see, compared to some of our previous drivers, definitely he’s up there. And he’s got the potential, so I think we’re all excited for more races working with him, in the meantime, while we wait for Daniel to recover.”