FIA Formula 3 race winner and proven championship contender Liam Lawson says his HiTech GP team’s qualifying issues were track specific to Austria’s Red Bull Ring and the young Kiwi should be right on the pace at Hungary.
The series sophomore has often been the quickest driver in the field in race trim. Barring his DNF in race 2 at the Styrian Grand Prix, Lawson has always improved on his grid position come the chequered flag.
However, the opening two weekends in Austria were thwarted with lacklustre qualifying performances for Hitech GP. It’s trio of cars unable to set a lap time higher than tenth fastest.
The issue, says Lawson, is down to the team struggling to generate sufficient heat into the tyres in qualifying and meant drivers were setting lap after lap trying to build enough tyre temperature.
However, Lawson is confident the problem won’t reoccur this weekend at Hungary, highlighting the tyre issue was merely track specific.
“I think that the problem [at Austria] was track related for us,” Lawson said.
“In Hungary, it will be very different from Austria. It’s a place where the tyre is good for one lap and not afterwards, so very different to the Red Bull Ring where we were going lap after lap and the tyre didn’t switch on.
“In Budapest it should suit us a bit more, hopefully.”
F3 will bring the medium compound of tyre to the Hungaroring this weekend, a circuit where qualifying is imperative to a strong result.
Hitech GP stablemate Dennis Hauger failed to outqualify Lawson in either of the two sessions from Austria, he too a subject to the tyre warming dilemma. But the reigning Italian F4 champion supports Lawson claims and suggests the team is in a strong position to challenge the front runners.
“I think that by the end of the weekend in Austria we were in a good position as a team and we should be able to carry that into this weekend and really get some results,” he added.
Lawson qualified 20th on his F3 debut at the circuit last season but the Red Bull Junior will be hoping he can string together a more complete weekend this time around.
The Kiwi sits seventh in the championship, 19-points adrift of provisional leader Oscar Piastri.
The FIA F3 grid will have two races this weekend at Hungary, the opening feature race scheduled for 8.25 pm NZT July 18.
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