Despite brilliantly coming through from 20th to finish seventh in Sprint Race 2, Liam Lawson was left frustrated to have not taken at least a podium after an accidental loss of power cost him two places and valuable momentum.
After two Safety Cars and a Virtual Safety Car, Lawson found himself up in sixth place behind Marcus Armstrong, but suddenly lost two places to Dan Ticktum and Oscar Piastri when his car slowed. The Hitech Grand Prix driver believes he may have accidently shut off the power.
Had the mistake not occurred, the Kiwi feels it could have been a much more successful afternoon, admitting that it soured an otherwise faultless drive. "I am not very happy to be honest,” admitted Lawson. “We have to work out exactly what happened, but I was sitting P6 after one of the restarts and I am pretty sure that I reached down to change brake bias and flicked the engine off, which lost me a couple of spots.
“The potential was honestly there for a podium. I had really, really good pace. I was quicker than (Robert) Shwartzman and the cars in front, and I was ready to attack them, but just that little engine glitch, whatever it was. If it was me, it’s a silly mistake, but at least the pace was there.”
A chaotic second sprint race in Baku was in contrast to the calmness of Sprint Race 1 and Lawson believes this may have been due to the cooler track temperatures.
The Kiwi was forced to retire from the first sprint race on the opening lap following contact with Oscar Piastri, who had been tagged by Felipe Drugovich, but said he had studied teammate Jüri Vips’ data.
Discussing the change in temperature, Lawson said: “I didn't drive this morning’s race and I only had Jüri’s data to go off, but after the first race this morning, everybody was a bit more aggressive in the second race and went for some big lunges and then ended up crashing.
“The first part was just about trying to stay out of trouble, but the temperature change was nice for me. It meant that the tyers didn't drop away so much and I was able to push on to come through.”
Starting from pole in Sunday’s Feature Race, Lawson will have a swift opportunity to get over his frustrations and he says he’ll be learning from his mistakes…
“Not flick the engine off for a start,” laughed Kiwi when asked how he could improve. “I think we need to make a good start. Jüri showed today that the car is good in clear air and I had pretty good speed as well so the potential is there. We have just got to put it all together.
“First things first, we need to make a good start and then try and stay in the lead, or at least stay at the front, then have a nice pit stop and we will see.”