Two wins out of two: ahead of the weekend, no one could have imagined a better result for Liam Lawson and the 488 GT3 Evo 2020 of Red Bull AF Corse. In the second race, despite 25kg ballast, the nineteen-year-old New Zealander held off Marco Wittmann’s attacks and was first over the finish line with the help of the AF Corse team’s quick pit stop. After a challenging qualifying session, Albon was unlucky to see a potential podium slip away due to a puncture.
Wait. With Lawson starting from second and Albon from ninth, the two AF Corse Ferraris made it through the first turn unscathed and, with the Thai driver, tried to quickly climb the standings. While Lawson shadowed poleman and race leader Marco Wittmann, Albon drove his AlphaTauri 488 GT3 Evo 2020 to eighth after an exciting duel with Glock. Seven minutes in, Albon pitted together with other drivers, including the BMW man, Abril, Ellis, Buhk and Muth, followed by Lawson a lap later. In both cases, the AF Corse mechanics were among the fastest to complete the mandatory tyre change, allowing Lawson to return to the virtual lead and Albon to fifth position.
Bad luck. However, the Thai suffered a puncture that forced him back to the pits, leaving him one lap behind the leader, Nico Müller. Albon made up the lap with some fast laps and a fine passing move at the Remus Kurve but was still more than a minute and twenty down on the German, behind who the battle for victory raged between Lawson’s 488 GT3 Evo 2020 and Wittmann’s BMW. The two set very similar times, but faster than Müller, with a gap of between five and eight tenths. Lawson passed the Audi driver to move into first on lap 27, taking advantage of the German to create a small margin over Wittmann, who passed Müller a lap later.
In a heartbeat. However, in another frantic finale, the two-time DTM champion moved back into the Ferrari’s slipstream. With a black and white flag shown to both drivers, neither had any margin for error, but the New Zealander again withstood the pressure, sealing his second triumph of the weekend and third of the season.
Chasing. This result, and sixth place for Kelvin Van der Linde, still leader on 147 points, narrows the gap in the drivers’ standings. With this weekend’s double triumph, Lawson is back in second position 12 lengths behind the South African, while Albon, seventeenth at the finish, is sixth on 94.
Liam Lawson: “It was a good weekend for points. We closed the gap in the standings, which was the main goal coming in. I think it’s pretty rare to have the opportunity to have two race wins in the weekend. So, it was also pretty special to do that, but I think a lot of it is down to the testing we did last week. Obviously, we are very limited on tyres on race weekends, so you never really know what the car’s like until you go into quali on a new set of tyres. So, for us having the testing last week, between race runs as well to get more of a race balance I think was what made this weekend possible as well. Obviously, today our pitstops were really really on it. That’s what made the race”.
Alex Albon: “Nothing to say really. We had an issue with the tyres. We had a puncture, and we thought the tyre was okay, but it wasn’t, and we got another puncture in the race. So, disappointing. Obviously, the car’s been very quick this weekend, and we have come away with very few points”.