It has only been a week but it is now history. Liam Lawson’s win in the final FIA Formula 3 Championship race at Mugello, Italy, will be one to remember.
Remember it for how the race victory was obtained and not for the win itself.
Saturday’s first race was a mediocre affair for the Kiwi. He started 11th and made one pass all race, finishing up in tenth. In some ways, that was all that was needed as tenth would put him on pole for Sunday’s finale. However, there appeared to be more going on than we realise.
His Saturday race pace was uncharacteristic. It was rather average as we know that 2020 Lawson has shown real maturity and race craft despite the numerous set backs over the season. Give him an opportunity and he will grab it.
Roll on Sunday’s race and something had changed, and it appeared to be quite drastic. Something had happened between races for both Lawson and his Hitech GP team to make such a difference.
The thing is, in FIA F3 there are so many good drivers throughout a very large grid. So much so, look at the points standings for the season and you will fin multiple race winners and not one or two dominating proceedings.
At a circuit like Mugello, give the following driver a ‘sniff’ and they will take it. In other words, the racing is so close that if a following competitor gets within the DRS zone, you are a sitting duck.
While throughout the entire final race, the focus was not on Lawson leading, rather it was on the battle for the overall championship title between Oscar Piastri and Theo Pourchaire.
Meanwhile my eyes were glued to the lap by lap score sheet showing the time gap between the top placings, knowing that while Lawson was in the lead, he needed to stay a second in front of the following competitor so that he didn’t come within that dreaded DRS zone.
This he did as the race went on. He not only stayed well ahead but he increased his lead lap by lap to win by 7.806 seconds, the largest winning margin in the dry for the whole season.
This means of wining reflects how he has conducted his season and there is no doubt that key decision makers within his Red Bull Junior Driver program will have taken note of both this victory and his campaign all year.
He may have had no chance of winning the overall 2020 title, but this didn’t stop the young Kiwi champion displaying why he is a potential future F1 driver in the making.