Inside the mind of F2’s rising star Liam Lawson

Liam Lawson.

Lawson on the track
Photo: Photosport/PANORAMIC

New Zealand race car driver Liam Lawson is a rising star. He is having an excellent Formula 2 season and is doing practice laps behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car.

At the Belgian Grand Prix last week he won the F2 sprint race and finished third in the feature race.

And he returns to compete today in F2 in Zandvoort, Holland.

Now there are only three meetings left in the season, and Lawson has moved up to fifth place in the championship table.

Last week he had his first official Formula 1 practice with AlphaTauri, under the command of the Red Bull team, and the free practice sessions for the Belgian Grand Prix.

He spoke with Jim Mora, about his career, about music, and about how he feels at this point in the season.

The current schedule with a quick succession of big races suits him, Lawson said.

“I quite like it, because when you have bigger breaks, you come back and train…but then you get out of the race mindset a little bit and you have to get back into it before race week…whereas when you do. In these consecutive races you stay in this race mode, which is great.

“A couple of years ago in 2020 we had a season where Covid was at its worst, we had our entire F3 racing season compacted into 11 weeks with 9 rounds, and that was one of the best moments I would say. I’ve had with auto racing.

Just a few years ago, he was still a student at Pukekohe High School. He left when he was 15 years old for racing.

“It’s been a crazy few years – it’s nice to come home at the end of each year. I still live in Pukekohe when I’m home and stop by my old school all the time.”

Formula 2 racing keeps you on your toes, with possible surprises and obstacles in every encounter.

“Racing is eventful. It’s very easy to miss a wing or a puncture or something with the way hectic starts are.”

“[This season] I’ve had some really close battles, some great overtaking… qualifying has been pretty tough in a lot of cases.”

How different was it from laps in the Formula 1 car for AlphaTauri?

“Very, very different, the car is obviously extremely fast, much faster than Formula 2… [it was a] a great learning experience – definitely took a few laps to get used to.”

“Going back to the F2 car felt a bit slower.”

Liam Lawson #5 Carlin during the FIA ​​Formula 2 Championship pre-season test at the Bahrain International Circuit in Bahrain from March 2-4.

Liam Lawson #5 Carlin during the FIA ​​Formula 2 Championship pre-season test at the Bahrain International Circuit in Bahrain from March 2-4.
Photo: Dutch Photography Agency / Red Bull Content Pool

The opportunity to take the first steps towards Formula 1 at the highest level was very exciting, he said.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot more involvement in Formula 1 this year, with Red Bull, doing a lot of simulated work… it’s good to have more involvement and learn. It’s all very exciting, but at the same time.” At the same time, it’s just as important to focus on F2 at the same time.

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“The best way to do it is just to finish as high as possible in F2 and finish this year strong – that’s the focus at the moment.”

Believing in yourself and your potential to win was essential for every race and at every corner, he said.

His goal now is to make it to Formula 1 racing in the coming years, where he could take on some of the fastest names in the world on the track.

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