At the end of a spectacular race full of duels and excitement, Liam Lawson claimed his second DTM win of the season while teammate Alex Albon finished fourth in the 55-minute race at the Red Bull Ring.
Sizzling start. Setting off from pole, Lawson held onto first and tried to pull away from his rivals. At the same time, Albon, who had started from the third row, enjoyed a lively opening that saw him involved in several spectacular duels. A particularly lively start was followed by a smoother phase for the AlphaTauri AF Corse driver at the wheel of the 488 GT3 Evo 2020, with Lawson taking a two and a half-second lead over Götz before making his mandatory pit stop on lap eight. The New Zealander returned to the track in virtual first position, although with a smaller margin over the Mercedes driver who had stopped a lap earlier.
Overtaking. Albon was back in the thick of the action on lap ten when, after making the mandatory pit stop, he moved into virtual sixth but was passed by Wittmann who had warmer tyres. The winner of Race-2 at the Nürburgring stayed in the slipstream of the BMW driver, very aggressive towards the series leader Kevin van der Linde who, thanks to a delayed stop, climbed up the standings after starting in the middle of the group. After spending a few laps behind Wittmann, Albon attacked and passed the two-time DTM champion on lap 19. He then did the same against Maini after eight laps of repeated attempts to move up to fifth.
Final assaults. In the virtual lead but in third actual position, Lawson managed his Red Bull liveried Ferrari’s advantage over Götz despite being slowed by Nico Müller, in command but with a pit stop still to make. Meanwhile, with no traffic ahead of him, Albon caught up with Kevin Van der Linde and tried in vain to pass the South African on lap 32. However, the manoeuvre succeeded a lap later at the Remus Kurve with a fantastic throttle-down by the former Formula 1 driver. Not content with that, Albon also tried to attack Ellis during the last lap. It was only a contact by Van der Linde, who wanted to take advantage of the duel between the two drivers, that stopped the Ferrari driver from making a further attempt.
Triumph. The chequered flag greeted Liam Lawson’s second win of the season. The New Zealander drove the Red Bull AF Corse Ferrari to victory in front of the team’s home crowd, ahead of Götz and Ellis. Alex Albon took fourth place with the second Ferrari in the race, despite the 25kg of ballast, earning valuable points for the team standings. Van der Linde has 139 points in the drivers’ championship, while Lawson moves up to third on 108 and Albon to fifth on 94.
Liam Lawson: “I had a good start, and the first stint was really the key to the race for us to open the gap as much as we could. Max [Maximilian Götz, Ed.] had a better pit stop, so the gap closed after that. Then it was pretty static for most of the race. When we caught the traffic, it was really hard to overtake the slower cars, and again he closed in, and in the last few laps, he was coming back a little bit. It is pretty close between the Mercs and us at the moment. We just need to focus. Tomorrow we will have added weight, so we’ll try to do the best job we can with that. It’s nice to have pole position. It was our first of the season. We’ve had three P2s, and so it was definitely nice to have the pole”.
Alex Albon: “The race was pretty much damage limitation after a tricky quali. We had to try to make up positions. Obviously, we were carrying some ballast as well in the car which made it a little trickier. But we did a good job. The car was feeling great. And we managed to finish P4, almost getting P3 at the end. We have scored some good points today as a team, so let’s carry on for tomorrow”.