Carlin Deputy Team Principal Stephanie Carlin believes that bringing home the Teams’ Championship title isn’t out of the question after their double points finish in the Sprint.
Liam Lawson claimed a commanding fourth win of his 2022 campaign in the Yas Marina Sprint Race, carving out an astounding 7.9s margin at the chequered flag. The result sliced leaders MP Motorsport’s advantage to just 15 points.
Whilst tyre degradation hampered several of their rivals late on, Carlin says that the New Zealander’s ability to avoid them falling off their performance cliff bodes well for the team’s ability to manage the Pirelli rubber in Sunday’s Feature Race.
"It was a really good day and I think we made the most of our starting positions. It was great to see Liam making the progress that he did, and he demonstrated how strong our race pace is. He was kind of with everybody at the start, but as the race went on, we saw everyone else drop off and he was able to maintain his tyres and then pull a really considerable gap in the end.
“He was very unchallenged at the flag, so you know that's encouraging for tomorrow to see such strong race pace. He's an experienced F2 driver. I think that's kind of built in now when you're racing on these Pirellis. To be honest, I think even he was a bit surprised at how well they lasted. He was being careful, but it wasn't fully intentional.”
Meanwhile, Logan Sargeant avoided near-disaster after getting swamped on the opening lap and Jack Doohan hounding him from behind throughout to add valuable points to his tally in sixth.
The American driver is handling the pressure as he seeks to secure the Super Licence points for a Formula 1 seat with Williams for 2023. Carlin says she was impressed how he mastered juggling attack and defence to remain competitive during the race, whilst having the foresight to think of the bigger picture involved.
“Logan’s got a really tricky situation. He’s got to kind of race for positions, but he’s also got to make sure that he doesn't get taken out in any first lap incidents. It’s what you saw today, it's absolutely possible despite your best intentions. So, there's always a slight element of caution built in there, but you know he did well.
“He avoided any incidents. He lost out a tiny bit during that Red Flag period, but he bounced back. I think he withstood the pressure from Doohan really, really well – it was relentless. Then to catch up on the Dennis Hauger/Amaury Cordeel battle as well and still be looking in his mirrors at Doohan, that could have all gone wrong and he played that perfectly.”
Approaching the final Feature Race of the year third in the Standings on 272 points, Carlin is aware of the sizeable task ahead of them to overall the deficit to their rivals MP and ART Grand Prix. However, the British team do have the advantage of being the only outfit to have both their drivers inside the top 10 on the grid.
With Sargeant starting sixth ahead of Lawson in ninth, the Deputy Team Principal is upbeat about their fortunes with the view to taking second. Given how the cards are stacked come race day, Carlin reckons that being crowned Formula 2 Teams’ Champions for the first time since 2018 remains an attainable goal.
“The team are really encouraged by the fact we've closed the gap to first and second in the Teams’ Championship. Obviously, tomorrow the grid will be slightly different and it’s all to play for again.
“We’ve dropped to third before from second at the last race of the season. It would be nice to do it the other way around and go up to second and nothing’s mathematically not possible at this point, so we’re aiming for absolutely the maximum.”