Liam Lawson admits he is hoping he will have more chances to race in Formula 1 after qualifying for the Dutch Grand Prix less than 24 hours after getting called up to replace Daniel Ricciardo.
Ricciardo broke a bone in his hand in a crash during FP2, with Lawson confirmed as his replacement once an x-ray had confirmed the injury on Friday evening. Faced with just a single practice session in heavy rain, Lawson qualified 20th on Saturday — 1.4s adrift of a Q2 spot — and he admits it made for a tough introduction.
“Hectic, massively hectic!” he told SpeedCity Broadcasting. “Obviously it’s not something you want and I feel for Daniel — I wish him a speedy recovery and I hope everything is fine — but for myself an opportunity like this comes once maybe in your life, so you have to take it in both hands. It’s been a challenging day but I’m excited for tomorrow. I know it’s going to be pretty tough but I’m excited.
“I didn’t sleep much — a lot to think about, obviously. We had a good idea that today was going to be wet — at least FP3 — but just a lot of emotions, a lot of things to go through. Knowing that I’d have one session to try and learn as much as I could, it’s been tough. I’m just excited to race, and I hope it’s not the only opportunity I get.”
The weather forecast for Sunday remains mixed but there’s a chance the grand prix will be dry — which would mark Lawson’s first dry-weather laps in the 2023 AlphaTauri, and he acknowledges that will likely leave him unable to match the pace of others.
“It’s tough because you want to have a good race and I’ve now driven the car for a day, but it probably will be dry — I haven’t driven in the dry, I haven’t driven on these (tire) compounds. It’s not restarting, but it’s like 50% there.
“So the first part of the race is going to be extremely tough, I just hope that I can get a feel for it quickly. I know it’s going to be very tough to try and be somewhat competitive, but to just have a clean race I think is the target.”