Fuji double for Lawson
Another Win in Super Formula, third in six races
Liam Lawson’s emphatic win at Fuji in the latest round of Super Formula has put him within one point of the championship lead.
Lawson made history when he won on debut at Fuji back in April and his repeat victory marks his third win in six races.
The Rodin backed Red Bull Junior started the race from second spot on the grid and tucked in behind pole-setter Tadasuke Makino, sticking close to the Dandelion driver while the rest of the field fell back.
Shortly after the compulsory pit stops to change tyres Lawson passed Makino and stretched his advantage out to 4.4-seconds by the time he took the chequered flag.
“Before the stop, honestly I did not have a way to get past him. I could hold onto him but getting into a position to make a pass, I was struggling with that,” said Lawson after the podium presentations.
The 21-year-old Mugen Honda driver is renowned for his speed on cold tyres after a pit stop and his strength paved the way for a double victory at Fuji.
“It all came down to my out lap and making the undercut. We had a number of strategies we could use but of course, you don’t know what they are going to do.”
“We decided to stop and they [Dandelion Racing] followed but my out lap was really quick so when he came out on cold tyres I was right there and in a couple of corners I had him.”
“I managed to hold it from there, it is never as easy as it looks but we did it.”
Lawson came close to claiming his first pole position of the series at Fuji, pipped by Makino in the dying seconds of the second part of qualifying.
“It was a great weekend all round, I was disappointed to miss out on pole but at least we were on the front row, we need to be doing that every weekend and it hasn’t always happened for us. I think it is just getting used to the qualifying system here and getting it right every time.”
Championship leader Ritomo Miyata finished a distant third and now heads to the next round at Motegi with his pre-Fuji points lead slashed to just one ahead of a fast closing Lawson.
“The next race is at Motegi and that is new for me, I’ve got to learn it quickly,” he added, with just a 90-minute Free Practice session before qualifying.
“The team continues to be fantastic, I am learning more and more every weekend and it is an amazing experience.”
From Japan he now heads back to his home in England briefly before jetting off to be the Reserve Driver for Oracle Red Bull Racing at the Hungarian F1 Grand Prix this coming weekend.
Lawson’s Super Formula campaign in Japan is supported by Rodin Cars, Giltrap Group, Turners, cumulo9, Porter Group and the Tony Quinn Foundation.
COPYRIGHT FREE IMAGE (2):
(1) Liam Lawson became a double winner at Fuji when he took his third win of the season in six races. (Photo: Red Bull Content Pool)
Super Formula, Fuji: 15-16 July, 2023
Qualifying – Top 6
1. Tadasuke Makino (Dandelion Racing) 1:22.063
2. Liam Lawson (Team Mugen) 1:22.242
3. Kakunoshin Ohta (Dandelion Racing) 1:22.331
4. Ren Sato (Nakajima Racing) 1:22;428
5. Ritomo Miyata (TOM’S) 1:22.457
6. Naoki Yamamoto (Nakajima Racing) 1:22.570
Race (41 laps) – Top 6
2. Makino +4.453
3. Miyata +15.235
4. Ryo Hirakawa (Team Impul) +19.278
5. Sato + 19.674
6. Ohta +20.781
Super Formula Championship points – Drivers Top 6
1. Miyata 86
2. Lawson 85
3. Tomoki Nojiri 61
4. Tsuboi 50
5. Makino 37
6. Hirakawa 36
Super Formula Championship points – Teams Top 6
1. Team Mugen 133
2. Team TOM’S 83
3. Inging 53
4. Dandelion Racing 39
5. Team Impul 36
6. Kondo Racing 33
Calendar 2023 – Super Formula, Japan
Rds 1/2: 08-09 April, Fuji
Rd 3: 22-23 April, Suzuka
Rd 4: 20-21 May, Autopolis
Rd 5: 17-18 June, Sportsland SUGO
Rd 6: 15-16 July, Fuji
Rd 7: 19-20 August, Motegi
Rds 8/9: 28-29 October, Suzuka