Monza DTM: Lawson claims debut win in Red Bull Ferrari

Red Bull junior Liam Lawson became the youngest-ever DTM race winner on his series debut in the Monza season opener, as Ferrari became the first non-German winning constructor since 1996.

The 19-year-old Kiwi, making his first start in a GT car alongside his main campaign in Formula 2, leapfrogged a quartet of Mercedes cars with a relatively early stop in his AF Corse-run Ferrari 488 GT3 to give Red Bull victory on its return to the series.

It was Ferrari's first win in the series, which has moved to GT3 regulations this year, and the first for any non-German manufacturer in the DTM since Nicola Larini's victory for Alfa Romeo in the 1996 International Touring Car Championship race for DTM cars at Sao Paolo.

Lawson beat poleman Vincent Abril's Haupt Racing Team Mercedes by 1.63s after Ferrari, BMW and Audi were all handed a pre-race performance boost by DTM’s BoP partner AVL Racing, with Mercedes cars having locked out the top four spots on the grid.

At the start, Abril led the field from Daniel Juncadella's GruppeM Mercedes, as Maximilian Gotz (HRT) jumped Lucas Auer (Winward Mercedes) to move up to third.

Lawson made a brave getaway from seventh on the grid, clearing the T3 Lamborghini of Esteban Muth on the run to the first chicane before gaining another place due to a retirement for Winward driver Philip Ellis.

The order at the front then began to to stabilise, with much of the field running nose to tail.

Audi duo Nico Muller, Mike Rockenfeller, and Lamborghini driver Esmee Hawkey triggered the pitstop sequence at the end of lap five of 28, with Lawson following them four laps later.

That allowed Lawson to come out in clean air, which proved to be decisive in the fight for victory.

Start action, Vincent Abril, Haupt Racing Team Mercedes AMG GT3 leads

Start action, Vincent Abril, Haupt Racing Team Mercedes AMG GT3 leads

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

So when Abril finally headed to the pits on lap 11, he was unable to fend off Lawson on cold tyres, the Ferrari passing him into Turn 2 to take the net race lead.

From there on, Lawson enjoyed a clear run to the finish, even though Abril was able to close the gap back up to 1.6s in the closing laps on fresher tyres.

Gotz made it two Mercedes-AMG GT3s on the podium in third, while Lawson's team-mate Alex Albon charged from 14th to fourth in the AlphaTauri-liveried Ferrari.

The Red Bull Formula 1 reserve driver pitted a lap after Lawson but had to work his way through traffic, with both Muller and Kelvin van der Linde overtaking him on his out lap.

However, Albon was able to repass the Audi duo and then fend off the Mercedes of Juncadella to take fourth at the flag.

Gary Paffett’s stand-in Maximilian Buhk was the last driver to make a pitstop, with a lengthy first stint elevating him to seventh behind Juncadella and van der Linde’s Abt Sportsline-run R8 LMS GT3.

Team Rosberg driver Muller was nudged into a spin going into the second chicane by Juncadella, but the Swiss driver recovered well to finish eighth, less than two seconds behind Buhk's Mucke Mercedes.

BMWs enjoyed better pace in the race after qualifying near the rear of the grid, with two-time DTM champion Marco Wittmann propelling the Walkenhorst M6 to ninth at the finish ahead of 2013 title winner Rockenfeller's Abt Audi.

Auer finished outside the points in 13th after a lengthy pitstop, with the Winward mechanics struggling to detach the rear-left wheel gun on his Mercedes.

Abt driver Dev Gore joined Ellis in retirement after contact with Timo Glock’s Rowe Racing BMW at Turn 1 on lap two.

Cla Driver Car Time Gap
1 New Zealand Liam Lawson Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 51'25.637  
2 France Vincent Abril Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 51'27.267 1.630
3 Germany Maximilian Götz Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 51'28.273 2.636
4 Thailand Alex Albon Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 51'32.713 7.076
5 Spain Daniel Juncadella Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 49'44.004 1 Lap
6 South Africa Kelvin van der Linde Audi R8 LMS Evo 51'42.015 16.378
7 Germany Maximilian Buhk Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 51'43.252 17.615
8 Switzerland Nico Müller Audi R8 LMS Evo 51'45.039 19.402
9 Germany Marco Wittmann BMW M6 GT3 51'46.154 20.517
10 Germany Mike Rockenfeller Audi R8 LMS Evo 51'48.818 23.181
11 Belgium Esteban Muth Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 51'50.592 24.955
12 South Africa Sheldon Van Der Linde BMW M6 GT3 48'14.072 2 Laps
13 Austria Lucas Auer Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 50'04.185 1 Lap
14 India Arjun Maini Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 51'54.799 29.162
15 United Kingdom Esmee Hawkey Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 52'04.277 38.640
16 Germany Sophia Flörsch Audi R8 LMS Evo 52'06.458 40.821
17 Germany Timo Glock BMW M6 GT3 52'11.426 45.789
18 United States Dev Gore Audi R8 LMS Evo 3'47.107 26 Laps
19 United Kingdom Philip Ellis Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'51.073 27 Laps
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