Lawson makes history at Monza!
Another win on debut, this time in DTM
Red Bull Junior driver Liam Lawson made history at Monza overnight by winning the opening race of the new-look DTM championship, becoming the youngest winner in DTM history.
Driving the Red Bull-backed Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo, 19-year-old Lawson also recorded the first DTM victory for an Italian manufacturer since Alfa Romeo won back in 1996.
Lawson only qualified 7th but made some aggressive moves from the rolling start of the race to move up two spots by the end of the first lap.
It wasn’t until he rejoined the race from his compulsory pitstop that Lawson jumped into the lead, which he maintained until the chequered flag some 30 laps later.
Lawson eased up over the final two tours of the Monza circuit to cross the finish line two-seconds clear of the Mercedes-AMG cars of Vincent Abril and Maximilian Gotz. Lawson’s AF Corse teammate Alex Albon finished 4th.
“It hasn’t quite sunk in,” said Lawson after his historic DTM win, also the first ever by a New Zealand driver.
“Really happy with the race and the speed as well. I think we knew after quallie this morning [7th] it wasn’t our true pace. In testing our race pace was always good.”
Lawson also recorded the fastest lap of the race at 1m 47.714s.
“Following is quite a lot harder in these cars than I expected. We needed clear air so we boxed early, the guys did an absolutely perfect stop and then the car in clear air was really fast.”
Lawson described his victory as the ultimate team effort with no mistakes but he doesn’t always expect that to be the case.
“I don’t expect it to be straight forward, I think it’s going to be changing a lot. This morning we didn’t have the speed to qualify at the front, we were four-and-a-half tenths off pole. I expect everything to be quite different in the coming races.”
However, Lawson’s #30 will carry an extra 25kg of weight for tonight’s [NZ time] Race 2 as part of DTM’s balance-of-performance ballast. The top three cars in the opening race of the weekend carry additional weight for the following race, with the grid set from a new Qualifying session earlier on the same day.
There are 19 drivers entered for the opening round at Monza with cars representing five manufacturers, Mercedes, BMW, Lamborghini, Audi and Ferrari.
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Liam Lawson (Red Bull Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo) won on his DTM debut, becoming the youngest driver ever to win in DTM. (Photo: Red Bull Media)
Race 1 Monza, Italy (Top 6)
1. Liam Lawson (Red Bull AF Corse)
2. Vincent Abril (Mercedes-AMG Team HRT)
3. Maximilian Gotz (Mercedes-AMG Team HRT)
4. Alex Albon (AlphaTauri AF Corse)
5. Daniel Juncadella (Mercedes-AMG Team Gruppem Racing)
6. Kevin Van Der Linde (Audi Team ABT Sportsline)
Championship Points (Top 6)
1. Lawson 25
2. Abril 18
3. Gotz 15
4. Albon 12
5. Juncadella 10
6. Van Der Linde 8
Calendar 2021 – DTM:
18-20 June: Monza, Italy
23-25 July: Lausitzring, Germany
06-08 August: Zolder, Belgium
20-22 August: Nurburgring, Germany
03-05 September: Assen, Netherlands
01-03 October: Hockenheimring, Germany
* dates tbc Norisring, Germany