Lawson “trying to do everything I can to show that” he belongs on the F1 grid

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The young driver from New Zealand unexpectedly made his Formula 1 debut at Zandvoort due to Daniel Ricciardo’s unlucky FP2 accident, which saw him break a bone in his hand. The Red Bull reserve driver underwent surgery immediately, with Red Bull’s Team Principal Christian Horner suggesting an early recovery could be made.

Liam Lawson set a date for the eight-time race winner’s return to racing talking ahead of the Japanese GP, admitting that Suzuka might be his last outing in the top single-seater championship for a while:

“The target is definitely Qatar, which is obviously next after this. I think that’s a realistic goal but I have no idea exactly the chances of that happening or not. So I think like usual after this, I’ll probably do some preparation. But the goal is definitely to have Daniel back.”

Photo credit: Scuderia AlphaTauri

Lawson jumped in the AT04 on Saturday morning and survived his first official outing for AlphaTauri in Zandvoort’s mixed conditions, improved his final result in the following Italian GP to P11 and scored his first career points in front of his family in Singapore with a ninth place finish, for the Italian team’s best result in a tough season so far.

After getting his first taste of Formula 1, he admitted he wouldn’t want to return to the sidelines to his previous role of reserve driver for the Faenza-based team, probably hoping that his very impressive cameo might see him get rewarded with a full-time contract, just like it had happened last season for Nyck de Vries:

“I wouldn’t be happy to go back to being reserve, but obviously, I know how hard it is to get into Formula 1, and I understand that that can be really difficult sometimes. So obviously, what will happen, will happen, but these things I just haven’t really thought about too much.

“I’m just trying to make the most of this. To be honest, there hasn’t been a huge amount of time to discuss the future. On what’s happened so far, it’s been pretty positive.”

The young driver, who is also competing in Super Formula for the first time this year, running second in the drivers’ standings with just Suzuka to go, is and will continue to do his best, making the most out of the unexpected opportunity and keeping an eye on his goal:

“But I guess the message for me has just been to keep my head down now and try and keep delivering until obviously things clear up, until this opportunity I have ends when Daniel comes back. So, it’s basically just doing a good job but keep doing the same thing.

“Obviously, I want to be in Formula 1. Now I have this chance, I’m trying to do everything I can to show that I can be here. But in terms of all those discussions, those will happen after this weekend.”

After scoring his first Formula 1 points, Lawson will be again on the hunt for more in Suzuka, hyped by the challenge posed by the track. He is pretty satisfied with his performance so far in the championship, especially considering how sudden was his first outing, highlighting how much his driving and his ability to extract speed from his car has improved since the Dutch GP:

“There’s just more with more time in the car, but for the nature of the situation, for how I’ve come into it, I think we’ve done well. I’m racing guys who have done 11 or 12 races in this season already, so we’re definitely playing catch up.”

“Every week, I get more comfortable with the car, so hopefully I go into this weekend feeling another step more comfortable. Compared to any other car I’ve driven it takes a lot more time to adjust to Formula 1,” concluded the Kiwi driver, who has raced and won races in many, different championships, including Super Formula, Formula 2 and DTM.