Red Bull Ring DTM: Lawson reignites title challenge with victory

Liam Lawson fended off Mercedes driver Maximilian Gotz to secure his second victory of the 2021 DTM season at the Red Bull Ring and thrust himself back into title contention.

Red Bull Ring DTM: Lawson reignites title challenge with victory

Lawson had slipped to fifth in the standings after three non-scores in the previous two rounds, but the Red Bull Ferrari driver bounced back strongly in Austria to become only the second repeat winner of the year.

The 19-year-old made a clean start from pole position to lead into Turn 1 from Gotz, and was a second up of his rival by the end of lap two.

Gotz was the first of the leading duo to pit on lap seven, with the HRT team servicing his AMG GT3 in less than six seconds in a bid to undercut Lawson.

But the 2.5-second buffer the AF Corse driver had built was enough to hold onto the net lead, with Lawson emerging in front of Gotz after making his own pitstop a lap later.

Gotz rapidly closed in on Lawson in the final stages of the race as both finally cleared the late-stopping Audis of Nico Muller and Mike Rockenfeller, but he was never in a position to make a pass on the Kiwi.

Lawson eventually crossed the line just over a second clear of Gotz to score his first DTM victory since the Monza season opener, moving himself to third in the championship behind Kelvin van der Linde and Gotz.

While Lawson appeared to be in control up front, the battle for the final podium position went down the wire, with Philip Ellis narrowly holding into third from Lawson's team-mate Alex Albon and van der Linde.

Philip Ellis, Mercedes AMG Team Winward Mercedes AMG GT3

Philip Ellis, Mercedes AMG Team Winward Mercedes AMG GT3

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Having charged his way from eighth on the grid after two long battles with van der Linde and Arjun Maini, recent Nurburgring victor Albon was right on the tail of Ellis - despite 25kg of success ballast on his Ferrari.

Albon tried a bold move on Ellis’ Winward Mercedes on the outside of Turn 6 but ran slightly wide, making light contact with van der Linde as the Abt Sportsline Audi driver tried to take advantage of the battle ahead of him.

This allowed Ellis the breathing space to clinch his third rostrum finish of the season, as Albon and van der Linde finished close behind him in fourth and fifth respectively.

Coming into the weekend, championship leader van der Linde had warned that the Austrian venue won’t suit the Audi R8 LMS, but a top five result helped him limit the damage to his nearest rivals Gotz and Lawson.

GetSpeed’s Maini secured his best finish of the rookie DTM season in sixth, beating the top BMW of Walkenhorst driver Marco Wittmann.

Home hero Lucas Auer was eighth in the Winward Mercedes, while the top 10 was rounded out by HRT’s Vincent Abril and Rowe Racing BMW driver Timo Glock - the latter securing only his second points finish of 2021 after a tough start to the season.

Glock’s team-mate Sheldon van der Linde was in contention for a decent haul of points when he ran straight at Turn 4 with what appeared to be a technical problem, parking his M6 GT3 at the corner exit.

Race results:

Cla Driver Car Time Gap
1 New Zealand Liam Lawson Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 57'48.232  
2 Germany Maximilian Götz Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 57'49.239 1.007
3 United Kingdom Philip Ellis Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 58'01.171 12.939
4 Thailand Alex Albon Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 58'02.514 14.282
5 South Africa Kelvin van der Linde Audi R8 LMS Evo 58'03.061 14.829
6 India Arjun Maini Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 58'03.428 15.196
7 Germany Marco Wittmann BMW M6 GT3 58'03.775 15.543
8 Austria Lucas Auer Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 58'05.239 17.007
9 France Vincent Abril Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 58'07.976 19.744
10 Germany Timo Glock BMW M6 GT3 58'10.392 22.160
11 Spain Daniel Juncadella Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 58'11.436 23.204
12 Germany Maximilian Buhk Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 58'13.832 25.600
13 Germany Paul Maximilian Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 58'17.690 29.458
14 Belgium Esteban Muth BMW M6 GT3 58'18.217 29.985
15 Germany Mike Rockenfeller Audi R8 LMS Evo 58'26.407 38.175
16 United Kingdom Esmee Hawkey Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 58'27.644 39.412
17 Germany Sophia Flörsch Audi R8 LMS Evo 58'55.400 1'07.168
18 Switzerland Nico Müller Audi R8 LMS Evo 47'15.671 7 Laps
19 United States Dev Gore Audi R8 LMS Evo 24'17.109 23 Laps
20 South Africa Sheldon Van Der Linde BMW M6 GT3 14'15.922 29 Laps
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