Liam Lawson reflects on whirlwind F1 debut as Ricciardo replacement at Zandvoort

Lawson was called up to race in Zandvoort following an injury to Daniel Ricciardo

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Liam Lawson has said that he was beginning to feel more comfortable in the AlphaTauri car after qualifying following his last-minute F1 debut replacing the injured Daniel Ricciardo

Ricciardo injured his hand in a crash at Turn 3 avoiding the stopped McLaren of Oscar Piastri during FP2, with the Australian ruled out of the entire race weekend at Zandvoort and likely set to miss out on the next race at the Italian GP.

Lawson, currently racing for Red Bull in Japan’s Super Formula series, was called in to replace Ricciardo and make a much-anticipated F1 debut, with the New Zealander viewed as a potential candidate for a future seat with the team.

Despite having limited time to get up to speed with the car and track, Lawson said that after a tough morning session he had begun to get to grips with things by the end of qualifying, where he finished 20th.

“It was okay. To be honest with how the first set of tires was going, I was actually feeling pretty comfortable. This morning was really tough,” Lawson told select members of the media after the session, including Total-Motorsport.com.

“But yeah, as I said, I think the first run we weren’t too far off. And still improving. And then just the second set of rain again, and I expected it to get a bit slower, but obviously, just getting used to this inter tyre, these conditions.”

‘Freak accident’

Ricciardo‘s injury, just two races after his return to F1 as replacement for Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri, occurred as he went into the barriers at Turn 3 to avoid Piastri, with no yellow flags shown before he arrived at the scene.

As Lawson was at the track, he was called up to replace Ricciardo as soon as the extent of his injury became known in a whirlwind 24 hours.

“It was all very quick, obviously I was,” Lawson said. “So I was in the Red Bull garage watching the session. And obviously, the crash is just a freak accident where it wasn’t a big crash or anything like that, just the way the steering wheel locked and swung around.

“And it’s never something you want to see. So at first, I feel for Daniel. But I had the news that he’d hurt his hands. So we went to the driver’s briefing as sort of a precaution. And then it was midway through the driver’s briefing, I got a message.”

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