Liam Lawson has been reclassified seventh in the FIA Formula 3 sprint race from Monza after he copped a 10-second time penalty for contact with Lirim Zendeli.
It meant he is stripped of his sixth podium finish of the year and all but ends his championship ambitions as scores just four points. Lawson also loses a place in the Drivers’ Championship, dropping to fourth, below Theo Pourchaire.
The Kiwi had initially survived a frenetic sprint race to finish behind Jake Hughes for second, making amends from slipping from pole to sixth the day before.
But Lawson was found to be at fault for forcing Zendeli off the track in an incident at Turn 1. The Stewards determined that the Hitech Grand Prix driver did not give the Trident racer the required one-car width of room during an overtake on the first corner of Lap 9.
Zendeli was promoted to fourth after the chequered flag.
It has left Lawson deflated as he now requires a seemingly Heraclean effort to overhaul his points deficit in the final round at Mugello.
“Yesterday, we were in a good position starting from pole and having most of our championship contenders a little further back. That was the day we needed to capitalise, and unfortunately we messed up a bit with the car in the early phase of the race,” said Lawson.
“Then I got massive damage when I got collected, being torpedoed in Turn 1. From there, we had zero info on what we would normally change for Sunday. Normally, you go off what you did in the first race and make changes for the second day, and we didn’t really know.
“I think it’s obviously possible to still win [the title], but it’s going to be very, very tough. It is a shame, looking back on a lot of the season, because there’s a lot of times we could have definitely pounced on a lot of the issues we had. We’d be in a really good position now, but that’s how it is.
“I guess we’ll do the best job we can in Mugello and see where we end up.”
Australia’s Oscar Piastri heads into the final round with an eight-point margin over Logan Sargeant for the lead of the championship. Lawson is 33 points back with 48 on offer for the whole weekend.