Liam Lawson explained he had doubts over whether he would’ve challenged Richard Verschoor for the lead without DRS in the Sprint Race.
Lawson dominated Race 1 of the weekend in Abu Dhabi for Carlin, an event disrupted after a red flag caused by Enzo Fittipaldi and Jehan Daruvala’s first lap incident.
The New Zealander explained after his race win when asked by InsideF2 that he and Verschoor were evenly matched: “I think pace wise I felt strong at the start but I didn’t feel overly strong.
“In fact without DRS I don’t think I would’ve been able to overtake so I would say mid race I felt I had quite quite similar pace to Richard, maybe I just had a couple of tenths a lap on him.”
After Lawson got past the Dutchman, he built a sizeable advantage on his way to victory.
The red flag proved to be a lengthy delay, the track temperature cooled as the sun set. This assisted Lawson and the rest of the field with tyre management throughout the race.
The Kiwi said: “Obviously the tracked dropped (in temperature) a little bit before we went back out to start the race properly but if anything that just helped all of us because the cooler it gets the easier it is too manage (the tyres).
The 20-year-old said that most of the drivers began to struggle with tyre wear towards the end of the race but his Carlin’s balance remained predictable.
“Towards the end I think everybody started to drop off a bit more and for us our balance stayed really consistent.
“So I think it’s just down to where we had the car today, it was really hooked up.
Lawson warned that the Feature Race will be an entirely different challenge due to more of an emphasis being placed on strategy and disparate temperatures.
“But tomorrow it’s going to be very different with the different temperatures and obviously with strategy and things like that.
“There’s points we can take from today but it’ll be difficult to take too much into tomorrow.”
Lawson will start Sunday’s Feature Race from ninth place, with fellow Red Bull Junior Ayumu Iwasa on pole position.
Image: Formula Motorsport Limited