Liam Lawson, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2022

Verstappen to hand car over to Lawson for first practice session

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Red Bull has confirmed Liam Lawson will drive Max Verstappen’s car during the first practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix tomorrow.

Verstappen has to sit out tomorrow’s opening hour of practice in order for Red Bull to comply with new regulations introduced for this season which requires them to run an inexperienced driver in each of their cars in at least one session over the course of the season.

Sergio Perez sat out first practice for the Spanish Grand Prix in May. Juri Vips drove his car but was dropped as Red Bull’s test and reserve driver the following month after using a racial slur during a live broadcast.

Lawson was installed as Vips’ replacement and has driven in practice for AlphaTauri twice already this year, though he did not cover the 100 kilometres required to score an FIA superlicence point on either occasion. He will also compete in this weekend’s Formula 2 round at the circuit, where he lies seventh in the standings.

Five other teams will also fulfil their requirement to run two junior drivers over the season this weekend. Pato O’Ward will make his first appearance in an official F1 session at the wheel of Lando Norris’ McLaren. Another debutant, Felipe Drugovich, will be at the wheel of Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin.

Robert Shwartzman will take over Carlos Sainz Jnr’s Ferrari, Jack Doohan will drive Fernando Alonso’s Alpine and Pietro Fittipaldi will run in Mick Schumacher’s Haas.

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F1 teams’ mandatory junior driver practice schedules

MercedesFrench Grand PrixNyck de VriesMexican Grand PrixNyck de Vries
Red BullSpanish Grand PrixJuri VipsAbu Dhabi Grand PrixLiam Lawson
FerrariUnited States Grand PrixRobert ShwartzmanAbu Dhabi Grand PrixRobert Shwartzman
McLarenUnited States Grand PrixAlex PalouAbu Dhabi Grand PrixPato O’Ward
AlpineMexico City Grand PrixJack DoohanAbu Dhabi Grand PrixJack Doohan
AlphaTauriBelgian Grand PrixLiam LawsonMexican Grand PrixLiam Lawson
Aston MartinItalian Grand PrixNyck de VriesAbu Dhabi Grand PrixFelipe Drugovich
WilliamsSpanish Grand PrixNyck de VriesUnited States Grand PrixLogan Sargeant
Alfa RomeoBahrain Grand PrixZhou GuanyuUnited States Grand PrixTheo Pourchaire
HaasMexican Grand PrixPietro FittipaldiAbu Dhabi Grand PrixPietro Fittipaldi

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2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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14 comments on “Verstappen to hand car over to Lawson for first practice session”

  1. Red Bull to hand car over to Lawson for first practice session

    1. No. Verstappen is the one pulling the strings at that team.

      1. I think this may be a limp wristed slap on that matter.

  2. Most teams run drivers they have no intention of ever hiring, and that’s a bit sad. I guess not what those practices were intended for.
    Not referring to this particular case, just glanced over the schedule… Schwartzman and Fittipaldi don’t seem to be going anywhere and surely less than 3 teams were thinking of hiring De Vries

  3. Kid better not crash it or Max’s mom will posting mean things about him.

    1. I too would like an indoor lavotary

  4. I hope he’s quicker than Verstappen. :)

    1. Pretty quick though. Not half bad.

  5. make it permanent for the whole weekend

  6. Hope he smashes the laptimes and gets the seat for good. Very decent kid, have had the pleasure to hear him interviewed on the Mike Hosking Breakfast on New Zealand’s NewsTalkZB radio a few times – very grounded, very respectful, very mature young man.
    Future world champion!

    1. Glad to see I’m not the only one who rates Lawson. Guy has some of the worst luck ever, did expect more from him this year but 7th isn’t really indicative of his talent.

      1. He was unlucky in terms of points true, but he’s been thoroughly outpaced by his rookie teammate. That’s not a great sign all things considered. He’s still young, and a year racing in GTs or Super Formula might be good to keep him race ready in case any of the 2023 F2 crop of Red Bull juniors don’t impress.

  7. He’ll need a lot of hand sanitizer.

  8. Lawson has already been SL-eligible since last year’s F2 campaign finish.

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