Liam Lawson believes qualifying could be the key to a Formula 2 title challenge this season.
Lawson finished his maiden season in the series eighth in the championship.
While the Kiwi had a solid season he only stood on the top step of the podium twice, once in the opening sprint race of the season and the other in Monaco, though he was later disqualified from that race.
While his race pace has been strong, Lawson hasn’t been as good in qualifying, cracking the top five twice through the season.
Lawson spoke to Formula2.com about the upcoming season and how improving on qualifying could help his championship ambitions.
“You always need a bit of luck to win a championship and do well and I think at points last year it wasn’t on our side,” Lawson said.
“But in general, we were lacking pace, especially Quali in the last few rounds.
“There were occasions where it was okay but others where we lacked it completely. Qualifying sets up your whole weekend, so if you qualify badly, it’s tough from there.”
Despite frequently finishing inside the top ten, Lawson knows there are improvements that can be made.
“There are always things to improve on. Not just Qualifying in general but putting everything together in one lap. Quite often you go from Free Practice on a harder compound of tyre to Qualifying on a softer compound of tyre and I think doing that has taken longer than it should of.”
The upcoming championship will be his second in the category, moving from Hitech Grand Prix to Carlin over the offseason.
Going into a second season Lawson will have more experience with the cars and track which could help his 2022 title bid.
“I just think it’s more knowledge,” he says. “Going to a team with a different philosophy on how the car should be, I can take my experience from Hitech and how that car was driven and put the two together. I just think that my knowledge is going to go up when I learn what their thinking is. It’s only going to be better for me in that respect.
“When you do a second year – which I have only done once before, in F3 – you go into your second year, and everything is a lot more natural. It isn’t that you know in your head that much more, it’s that you naturally start off just much better prepared.”
The 2022 Formula 2 season kicks off at Sakhir, March 18-20