Back on the podium after just missing out in race 1, Liam Lawson drove a confident race to finish second and regain the lead of the driver’s championship. Lawson is now ahead by 14 points with two races to go!
A sketchy start didnt scare the Kiwi who made some excellent moves early on to then find even more pace with fresher tyres post pit stop.
Here is how it went down:
Straight into lap 1 Liam lawson came past Kelvin Van der Linde on the outside of the chicane having the favourable line exiting the corner but the south African was not willing to give up his spot that easily and quickly came back just 2 corners later to retake second.
Rain started speckling the lense of the camera which caused teams to start considering the pit strategies with the possibility of wet tyres. Luckily for everyone the rain did not eventuate to anything and the race continued on dry tarmac.
Heading into lap 3 the same move was attempted by Lawson on the chicane but this time it was not as easy. The two championship rivals were fighting alongside one another making contact on the exit of several corners but Kelvin made it ahead by muscling his way through and continued to hold onto second for the following laps.
Out front Lucas Auer was able to pull a 2 second lead as the two drivers behind scuffled for second place.
Kelvin Van der Linde was put under investigation on lap 5 for pushing another car which was in relation to his daring moves to hold position against lawson on lap 3. The investigation brought about a 5 sec penalty for the South African which was given before he pitted.
Lawson came into the pits on lap 7 which happened to be reasonably slow with a 8.21s stop but the Rookie still managed to come out ahead of the first pit stopper Max Gotz therefore taking the net lead.
Lucas Auer and Kelvin Van der Linde pitted the next lap and the championship leader was hit with a devastating 10s stop, a full two seconds slower than Lawson, allowing the Kiwi to move into net second as Auer exited ahead of the AF Corse Ferrari.
Later in the race Lawson had clear air ahead once all the drivers had made their mandatory stops as he finally moved into second on track with Auer still ahead cruising with a 7 second buffer to Lawson.
Things got worse for Kelvin Van der Linde on lap 23 as it was announced he had picked up yet another 5 second penalty. This time it was in relation to a pit stop violation. The championship leader had gone from fighting for 3rd to struggling for points once the time penalties were added.
As well as that Daniel Juncadella made it passed the South African and was working together with his fellow BWT teammate Maxi Gotz.
Penalties started to rain down on the midfield drivers starting with Maini who was given the same penalty as Van der Linde. Then Wittman, Glock, and Rockenfeller picked up 5 second penalties for either pitlane infringements or track limit violations.
While the midfield drivers from 3rd to 10th were battling down to the final lap, Lawson comfortably crossed the line in second crucially claiming the 18 much needed championship points.
In the post race interview Liam explained:
How was that race? You must be really happy to have regained the lead of the championship and to have steered clear of the penalties:
“Very happy, the start was really sketchy. I’m sure Kelvin didn’t do it on purpose but I felt a really big bump from behind on the start … pace after the pitstop was really good. We were worried that we had pitted too early because yesterday we had really harsh degradation but the car was so fast!”
“Tried to catch Auer at the end but he had too much pace and the gap was just too big, but anyways super happy with P2 picking up those points.”
How do you feel moving on to the final round leading the championship? Do you feel as though you have the championship already in the bag?:
“It is definitely not in the bag yet. It’s still very close … you can see how quickly things can change especially with the ballast, Kelvin was 15 points down and then was leading this morning and now it has changed again.”
“We will be disadvantaged next race seen as we will gain the ballast whereas Kelvin won’t have any. We’ll just have to stay out of trouble and score as many points as we can!”
Here are how the top 10 finished:
As well as the updated championship standings:
Featured image source: youtube.com/dtm