Lawson learned he’d make Dutch GP debut during the drivers’ briefing

2023 Dutch Grand Prix

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Liam Lawson revealed he was in Friday’s driver briefing when he got the call telling him he would make his Formula 1 debut this weekend.

The 21-year-old has replaced Daniel Ricciardo at the Dutch Grand Prix after the AlphaTauri driver broke his hand following a crash in second practice at Zandvoort.

“It was all very quick,” Lawson said. “I was in the Red Bull garage watching the session and obviously the crash was just a freak accident.

“So first I feel for Daniel. I had the news that he hurt his hands so we went to the driver’s briefing as a precaution and then it was midway through the driver’s briefing I got a message.

“I was very focussed on that second half of the driver’s briefing. Just a lot to take in and realising that it was going to be a huge amount of learning to do in the next 24 hours.”

Lawson has had little preparation for his short-notice debut. Although he had two outings in practice for the team in Belgium and Mexico last year, Lawson said their car is now very different.

His first outing with the AT04 was in final practice yesterday. He finished last in the wet qualifying session where team mate Yuki Tsunoda came 14th.

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“I was racing last weekend in Japan, so I flew straight here,” said the ex-F2 driver, who lies second in the Super Formula championship

“Definitely I would have loved to do more prep for this, especially the first couple of practice sessions,” said Lawson. “But an opportunity like this is something that I’ve waited my whole life for. So I take it with both hands and make the most out of it.

“At the same time with a situation like this, conditions on a day like this, you can never really prepare for it that well.”

He said his target for the race is to avoid any dramas. With Ricciardo not expected to return until Singapore at the earliest, Lawson is likely to have another chance to race at Monza next weekend.

“It’s going to be a very tough race,” Lawson said. “I’m excited, at the same time I know it’s going to be challenging, I know we’ve got a lot to get through, so I think we’re just after a clean race.

“The first half is going to be extremely tough, especially if it is dry, I’m going to be learning everything for that first part.

“We haven’t even done any long runs or anything like that, so I don’t know how the tyre performance is, it’s going to be a big learning curve.”

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2023 Dutch Grand Prix

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Author information

Ed Hardy
In 2019, Ed started working on Formula 1 writing articles during race weekends. Alongside that, he also built up experience in football working on...
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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4 comments on “Lawson learned he’d make Dutch GP debut during the drivers’ briefing”

  1. Sometimes when we talk about experience or a driver missing an FP session, or a car that they’ve only ever driven in an FP session, I think it’s easy to look at the ones who breezed it (Max winning first time in a RB, George nearly winning in Lewis’ Merc) and think its not that hard. But I think this is somewhat different and I can’t really think of a worse place to do it than Zandvoort in a weather flux, no experience this year (two FP’s last year) and fighting for a title in another formula miles away.

    I think if he makes it to the end it’ll be an achievement, least I’d be happy with that (I’m obviously not Marko though). I bet he wishes it was Monza, at least that’s mostly just practicing going in a straight line 90% of the lap.

    1. I think George and Max also had the advantage of already having a lot of running in the cars of that season, even if it is from another team

  2. Lewisham Milton
    27th August 2023, 10:17

    I hope there was nothing important in the first half of the briefing, or at the moment he got the call, when he wasn’t listening…

    1. Gazb87yorkshire1
      27th August 2023, 11:59

      “These buttons are your indicators and this new ones the jet power feature Daniel!”. First briefing done!!!

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