On his DTM debut, 19-year-old New Zealander Liam Lawson executed a flawless performance to clinch victory in the season opener in Monza.
Lawson, who started seventh, made perfect use of clean air following an early pitstop from the AF Corsa Ferrari team.
When the leaders then made their stops, Lawson had leapfrogged himself to the front and eased home to a sensational rookie win.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet and it probably won’t for a while,” Lawson said.
“I don’t think myself or the team has really realised what we have just done.”
Following a Mercedes domination in qualifying, which saw the German powerhouse lockout the first two rows, Lawson got the best start of anyone.
The Kiwi swiftly moved to the inside line and pulled off a daring yet well-calculated divebomb overtake to move ahead of Esteban Muth.
When Phillip Ellis then retired on lap two, Lawson ran in the top five.
With no one really making any moves up and down the pecking order, Lawson and the AF Corsa team opted to make use of an early pitstop.
They weren’t the first in the field to put on a fresh set of boots, with a handful of cars in the lower ends of the field coming in even earlier than Lawson.
Yet, Lawson emerged ahead of these cars and found himself cycling in clean air.
When the top four all made their respective pitstops, they all came out behind Lawson.
All except Vincent Abril.
However, despite Abril re-joining the race fractionally ahead of Lawson, the much hotter tyres of the Ferrari meant Lawson effortlessly claimed the race lead two laps later.
From there, Lawson came home with a wet sail to take victory by 1.6s over Abril.
“To win a DTM race is just massive,” he said.
“I remember years ago when I was racing in [ADAC] Formula 4, and we were alongside DTM. I just remember how huge a championship it was, and so to be racing in this is a huge opportunity.
“And to win in Monza in a Ferrari is really special.”
At 19, Lawson is now the youngest ever winner in DTM history.
He also helped Ferrari become the first non-German manufacturer to win a DTM race since Alfa Romeo did it in 1996.
Lawson heads into tonight’s second and last race at Monza with his tail up but will have to deal with another qualifying session before that.
The race starts at 11.30 pm NZT and is live and free through the DTM website.