Liam Lawson admits it was frustrating being stuck behind the overly combative defence of Theo Pourchaire in Sunday’s Formula 3 sprint which cost him a shot at a repeat podium finish and ultimately saw the Kiwi lose another position over the line in the dying stages.
Scoring his third podium of the season in the weekend’s earlier feature race – Lawson’s first non-victory top three finish – the Red Bull junior was confident he could challenge for yet another strong points haul in the reverse grid sprint race and continue to thin his deficit to the championship leaders.
Instead, after an electric start from eighth, Lawson became becalmed behind a belligerent Pourchaire for third whose stern defensive tactics earned himself a black and white flag, his second in as many races.
Pourchaire’s now infamous resolute defence has earned the reigning ADAC F4 champion a combination of praise and frustration by rivals. Analogous to a less experienced Max Verstappen, Pourchaire was often spied moving more than once along straights of Silverstone across both weekends in a bid to lessen the influence of slipstream and resist DRS-assisted challenges by drivers behind.
Lawson would have a daring lunge on the Frenchman at the penultimate corner come the final lap, but he ran out of road and allowed a fortunate David Beckmann to pip the Kiwi for fourth by 0.019s.
10 points quickly became four but Lawson did comment after the race he felt reluctant to pull off a move of Pourchaire earlier in the race, well aware the pair would likely collide and further hamper the Kiwi’s championship ambitions.
“It was disappointing to lose a position by 1/100th to Beckmann, but it is what it is,” said Lawson.
“The thing in that racing against Pourchaire like this you have the choice, I could have been more aggressive and we would have crashed, it would have been his fault but that wouldn’t have helped my points score.
“It’s a bit crazy, to be honest, you are trying to race someone and overtake because you are faster and you end up in positions where you either back out and get points or stick to your line and have a crash which is his fault. So we took the points today.
“[But it’s] frustrating that he didn’t get penalised for going off track, but there you are.”
Lawson leaves Silverstone having scored the second-highest points tally across the doubleheader, two behind Prema’s Logan Sargeant who executed a sublime pole-to-flag performance in last weekend’s feature race to usurp teammate Oscar Piastri for control of the points race.
With three DNF’s to his name, it is a testament of his promising potential that Lawson is still within one race win away from Sargeant in the overall standings and the young Kiwi is hoping his recent shift in momentum will further allow him to eat away at the American’s lead.
“Obviously we’ve got to keep this momentum and it’s going to come to a point when we’ve got to grab more points than what we are [at the moment],” added Lawson.
“But at least at this stage we are not losing ground, we are closing in slowly.”
Only four rounds remain in the FIA F3 championship which is set to conclude at Mugello for the first time in F3/GP3 history.
The next event will be the final in the series’ second consecutive doubleheader after back-to-back races at Silverstone from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain.
The Kiwi had a dismal inauguration to the Spanish circuit last year on debut with MP Motorsport but no doubt will be one of the key favourites ahead of this weekend’s event.