Liam Lawson has said that the early pitstop the team made during the Saturday DTM race at Monza was a critical part of his eventual victory, as it allowed the New Zealander to run in clear air.
Lawson started in the midfield at Monza, but after the pitstops, fought his way past polesitter Vincent Abril and led away for the second half of the race, eventually going on to claim victory.
Speaking after the race, the 19-year-old explained that the AF Corse team decided to bring his Red Bull-liveried Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo into the pits early, which allowed the Ferrari to use its strong race pace and get Lawson ahead of the pack.
“Really, really happy with the race, the speed as well,” Lawson said. “We knew after qualifying this morning that it wasn’t true pace, and I knew that hopefully the race pace would be stronger.
‘In testing our race pace was always good. And at the start of the race, following is quite hard, it’s a lot higher than I expected in these cars.
“So sitting behind the Mercedes at the start, I knew we had faster pace, we just needed the clear air so we boxed early.
“The guys did an absolutely perfect stop, couldn’t be any better and then the car in clear air was just really fast.”
The Red Bull junior had an aggressive start to the race, as his Ferrari was briefly seen running off track and on the grass on the run down to the first corner.
“The start was good. It was quite aggressive. I had a really good launch behind Esteban [Muth], and then he just gave me enough space, I think I even went to the grass.
“I actually had a look at the inside of Lucas [Auer] going into the first Lesmo and he pushed me a bit off, so I had to tuck back in behind. But yeah, as I said, we knew the car was fast, we just need to get the stop done early.
“And then from there, once we had the lead, it was just about managing it for the rest of the race.”