A rare innocuous error late into Sunday’s Formula 3 sprint race denied Liam Lawson the opportunity to become 2020’s sole repeat winner in the junior category and has sucker-punched his championship points tally.
Lawson was duelling for the lead with HWA’s Jake Hughes in a traditional F3 barnburner, with Austria’s Red Bull Ring offering three DRS zones and plenty of overtaking opportunities.
The crash on lap 21 of 24 put both cars out on the spot and allowed a fortuitous Theo Pourchaire to become the youngest ever winner in F3 at aged 16 as the Safety Car led the field home across the chequered flag.
The clash has since been in investigated by race officials and has been deemed a racing incident, but the zero points haul has demoted Lawson to seventh in the standings.
Speaking after the accident, the Red Bull junior admits the clumsily crash was neither drivers’ fault and asserted he will bounce back stronger for next week’s races at the Hungaroring.
“I’m disappointed, but we’ll bounce back next week,” said Lawson. “It’s obviously a real shame.
“At that point of the race I wasn’t pushing, I feel like we had it completely under control and I was just setting things up for the last couple of laps.
“I didn’t even mean to try and pass him again to be honest. He [Hughes] braked early, I braked at my normal spot coming into the corner. I was just going to drive around normally on the inside, I wasn’t going to try anything, otherwise I would have carried more speed.
“I was just going to drive next to him but I got on the inside kerb and because it’s going downhill the car unloaded and snapped around.
“When I did that the wheel slipped out of my hands, I couldn’t grab it in time and when I lost the wheel the car went left and straight into the side of him. I was trying really hard to catch it and if I had kept hold of the wheel I would have been fine but I didn’t and that was that.”
Once again Lawson proved to be the quickest Hitech GP pilot across the weekend, though like the previous weekend the British outfit struggled to muster a competitive qualifying session.
Friday’s qualifying saw Lawson claim 10th, two spots above his previous weekend’s position but still well below par.
“We think it’s more of a track problem for us,” explained Lawson. “Just like last weekend we struggled to turn on the tyre again for this weekend in Qualifying.
“We are confident that we can get the job done next weekend and have a stronger Qualifying. That is the goal we are working on, especially as passing around Budapest is difficult.”
Lawson will head to the storied Hungaroring, home of the Hungarian Grand Prix, for round three of the FIA Formula 3 championship on July 17-19.
Main Image: F3/Dutch Photo Agency