Lawson admits he was ‘just happy to get through the race’ after chaotic maiden Grand Prix

ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - AUGUST 27: Liam Lawson of New Zealand driving the (40) Scuderia AlphaTauri

Liam Lawson arrived in Zandvoort last week with no idea he would end up making his Formula 1 debut in the Dutch Grand Prix – which turned out to be a chaotic race that tested the mettle of even the most experienced drivers.

After Daniel Ricciardo broke his hand in a crash in second practice, Red Bull junior Lawson was drafted in to replace the Aussie at AlphaTauri.

READ MORE: Horner refuses to be drawn on target comeback date for Ricciardo after ‘successful’ surgery on broken hand

And on his maiden F1 appearance the young Kiwi had to contend with rain, red flags, Safety Car restarts and was handed a penalty for impeding Kevin Magnussen in the pit lane – but managed to survive all the chaos to make it to the chequered flag in 13th place.

“It was good, it was a lot going on. When I was rolling up to the grid and it was starting to rain, it wasn’t the best feeling but the race was okay,” he said afterwards.

“We lost a huge amount of time at the start with the stack and then we had no choice but to make the pit stop but unfortunately got the penalty as well so lost a lot of time.

ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - AUGUST 27: Liam Lawson of New Zealand driving the (40) Scuderia AlphaTauri

Lawson had some very tricky conditions to contend with on Sunday

"I think the second half of the race was not so bad, once we got clean air and also on the inters at the end was not too bad. Just happy to survive.”

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner was one of a number of interested spectators, and he was quick to praise the rookie’s performance.

READ MORE: 'We would've been challenging Max' – Hamilton and Russell reflect on costly opening few laps in Zandvoort

“I mean the poor guy getting dropped in, wet, dry, all the conditions thrown at him, I actually think he did pretty well.

"He actually overtook Max [Verstappen] on Max’s out-lap when he changed onto the intermediate tyres at the end there so you know to finish a race like that in itself with the lack of experience he has, in very difficult circumstances, he applied himself very well.”

Lawson ‘just happy to get through the race’ after chaotic maiden Grand Prix

As for Yuki Tsunoda in the other AlphaTauri, he also had an eventful race but came home down the back of the field despite spending a decent chunk of laps deep inside the top 10. Having got their strategy calls so right when the initial rain came, the team made a mistake leaving the Japanese racer out on old soft tyres when his rivals were all swapping to a new set.

“Well first of all, the strategy we took, staying out with the used tyre, was the thing we all agreed including me, and I thought we could make it until the end but the grip itself was not too bad, but the new tyre had more advantage that we expected so it didn’t pay off in the end.

“I showed at least a bit of good speed and a bit of exciting moments so I [am] pretty happy with the race, I think we tried a lot and it’s a shame it didn’t pay off. Shame for the penalty as well but it is what it is.”

READ MORE: Gasly hails ‘massive motivation boost’ for overhauled Alpine after ‘insane’ run to P3 at Zandvoort

Tsunoda’s penalty was earned for forcing a driver off track, when the AlphaTauri man was battling hard to keep George Russell’s Mercedes at bay.

It remains to be seen who will line up for AlphaTauri next weekend in Monza, although the indications are that Lawson will be partnering Tsunoda once again, with Ricciardo likely to be out for some time.

ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - AUGUST 27: Yuki Tsunoda of Japan driving the (22) Scuderia AlphaTauri AT04

Tsunoda found himself at the head of a queue of quick cars - but couldn't keep them at bay



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