Another win on debut, a front-row start for Race 2 and a handy championship position were the takeaway points from Liam Lawson’s inaugural weekend of DTM racing at Monza, Italy.
Carrying an extra 55kg of success ballast for Race 2 didn’t stop Lawson from putting the Red Bull Ferrari on the front row. However, an early spin in the race dropped him to last place before he climbed back to finish 14th.
Lawson’s win in Race 1 saw the minimum weight of the two Ferrari’s on the grid – the other driven by Alex Albon – raised by 30kg. The Mercedes duo, Vincent Abril and Maximilian Gotz, who finished on the podium, coupled with two more AMG GT3s finishing inside the top 10, meant all Mercedes cars were given an additional 25kg weight.
In addition, Lawson, Abril and Gotz had to carry an additional 25kg, 18kg, 15kg ballast for finishing on the podium in Race 1.
Although a disappointing result in Race 2, the victory in the opening race of the all-new DTM championship hit the headlines around the globe. From grid 7 in Race 1, Lawson rocketed into fifth place before the end of the opening lap.
A brilliant early pit-stop strategy from his AF Corse team allowed him to steal the lead of the race. After he exited the pit, from his compulsory stop, he out-drove the Mercedes-AMG of Vincent Abril through the first corner and from there controlled the pace of the race to take victory.
The win added to Liam’s impressive tally of wins on debut – now nine victories on debut from the 10 different championship categories he has competed in.
A small mistake on his final push lap in Qualifying for Race 2 saw Lawson’s chance of pole slip away but P2 was a fine effort for carrying the extra weight in the Red Bull Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo. The difference between the two cars on the front row, Audi and Ferrari, just over seven-thousand’s of a second.
Lawson had the better of the rolling start but going deep into turn one, allowed pole-man Kelvin van der Linde to take the lead while Lawson defended desperately to hold out the chasing pack behind him.
An intense three-way scrap for P2 with some breath-taking side-by-side action lasted another lap before he was shuffled back into the clasp of Esteban Muth (Lamborghini Hurricane). They went side-by-side into the second chicane on lap 3, a slight touch saw Lawson’s Ferrari spin to a halt. He then re-joined in last place.
From 19th, Lawson climbed back as high as 14th before the tyres on his Ferrari were ‘gone’ and that’s where he finished the race.
After the opening round of DTM Lawson lies second in the DTM Series, which is now led by Kelvin van der Linde by just 9-points, with Nico Muller (Audi) third, a further 5-points adrift. Two Audi’s split by a Ferrari.
With the second scheduled round of DTM now postponed until later in the season, Liam’s focus switches back to Formula 2 for the British Grand Prix meeting at Silverstone, July 16-18
Also see: DTM win for history-making Lawson