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Lawson will linger on Qatar sprint mistake as F1 cameo ends

Liam Lawson reckons he will linger on his 2023 Qatar Grand Prix sprint race error as he is conscious that his Formula 1 substitute appearances for AlphaTauri are soon ending.

Liam Lawson, AlphaTauri AT04, climbs out of his car and retires from the Sprint race

Liam Lawson, AlphaTauri AT04, climbs out of his car and retires from the Sprint race

Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Lawson lost control through Turn 2 on the opening lap to beach his car in the gravel and retire from the Saturday race, his penultimate before Daniel Ricciardo is due to return from injury.

The 21-year-old Kiwi said that this is a mistake that he “can’t afford” and will therefore likely dwell on as his effective audition for a full-time race seat in 2025 is fast approaching its end.

Asked if he would move on quickly, Lawson replied: “No, because I don't have time to make these kind of mistakes.

“Obviously, I have a short run in Formula 1 at the moment, so it's important for me to make the most of every session. And I definitely can't afford to have mistakes like this.”

Lawson started from 14th on the medium tyres in a race where many drivers struggled for rear grip on a dusty Losail circuit through the opening corners.

He was conscious of a snap of oversteer for Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton directly in front of him, but by the time he realised he was carrying too much speed he had already committed to the corner.

Liam Lawson, AlphaTauri AT04, beaches in the gravel and retires from the Sprint race

Liam Lawson, AlphaTauri AT04, beaches in the gravel and retires from the Sprint race

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Lawson explained: “It was obviously pretty poor. But it's the same for everybody. So obviously a big mistake for me and I'm obviously very sorry to the team.

“Really caught me out. Turn 1 was really good on line, made up some places.

“Then Turn 2, I saw a lot of cars having big slides, but by then I'd already committed to the speed that I was taking and they checked up and I basically just lost it. Big mistake.”

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Current Japanese Super Formula points runner-up Lawson has largely impressed during his five-round cameo for Ricciardo, who crashed in practice at Zandvoort and broke a bone in his left hand.

He navigated the wet-weather and safety car interruptions smoothly on his Dutch debut and then banked two points in Singapore, the team having only scored three points up to that race.

Ricciardo was initially expected to return in time for the Qatar GP this weekend, but video called Lawson via FaceTime on Monday to let him know he would be required again.

However, it is widely expected that Ricciardo will finally be fit enough to make his comeback in the next round, the United States GP across the 20-22 October weekend.

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