Liam Lawson details chaotic timeline after sudden call to replace Daniel Ricciardo

Henry Valantine
Liam Lawson walks in the paddock at Zandvoort.

AlphaTauri driver Liam Lawson walks through the paddock at Zandvoort.

Liam Lawson is looking forward to having a full weekend to prepare to drive in Formula 1, having been thrown in at the deep end for his debut at Zandvoort.

The Red Bull junior driver was called up as a late replacement for the injured Daniel Ricciardo, who broke a metacarpal in his left hand in a practice crash last Friday, leaving the rookie to take the Australian’s place at AlphaTauri for the weekend.

With only one practice session in the car before qualifying, Lawson qualified P20 and brought his car home 13th at Zandvoort, doing a solid job at short notice and subsequently being confirmed to continue in Ricciardo’s absence until he recovers.

Liam Lawson flew from Japan on Thursday, made his F1 debut on Saturday

Having been competing in Super Formula over in Japan this season, Lawson revealed that he flew over to the Netherlands before the weekend began.

Whether or not jetlag would have come into things was unclear, given the time difference he would have had to adjust to heading into reserve duties as planned for Red Bull and AlphaTauri.

But Ricciardo’s trip to hospital confirmed a break, and an unexpected call-up at the last minute for the New Zealander.

He was full of praise for AlphaTauri for helping him through the weekend, and the 21-year-old revealed just how much life changed for him overnight when it was revealed he would step up to a race seat.

“In Monza, it’s going to be nice to have the full build-up to the weekend preparation-wise, being able to drive in all the practice sessions,” he said ahead of the weekend.

“For Zandvoort, I flew in from Japan on Thursday night after racing there the previous weekend.

“Obviously, you’re always prepared as much as you can be for these things, but it’s so unlikely that you never really expect it to happen, and then it did!

“The support from the team was amazing. They did everything possible to prepare me as much as possible in the limited time we had.

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“Even during the race, Pierre (Hamelin, race engineer) was super supportive with so much information, basically walking me through it, and that really made my life a lot easier, but obviously, there are always things you can improve on.

“In the race, we had every condition thrown at us, so that was difficult at the time, but also a good and positive experience, which has helped me get ready for Monza.

“Going to Monza with an Italian team is also going to be special. If I think back to last weekend, Formula 1 is just such a different world – the difference between walking into the circuit on Friday compared to walking into the circuit on Saturday, I’ve never experienced anything like that, specifically that level of attention.

“Being a home race in Monza, I imagine it’s going to be even more significant there.

“It’s amazing to be doing this. It’s been my dream since before I can even remember, so it’s very cool to have this opportunity, and I’m just going to try to make the most of it.”

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