Liam Lawson said that the Red Bull program prepared him to be able to deliver in high-pressure situations, after confirmation he will not race for AlphaTauri in 2024.
AlphaTauri announced Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo as its driver line-up for next season ahead of qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix on Saturday morning, with Lawson returning to a reserve role full-time once Ricciardo returns from injury.
Having been made aware of the decision last week, Lawson said it wasn’t a major challenge to prevent himself overdriving trying to prove Red Bull wrong based on the experience he’s gained in recent years.
“I don’t think so,” Lawson said. “One of the positives about being a Red Bull driver is, for me having five years in this program, it’s a high pressure program, we’re put under pressure from day one and I’m now used to that, it’s been five years of that, so almost I’m ready for it.
“I’m a Red Bull driver, so all the Red Bull seats are filled and unfortunately for me that means for now I’ll be a reserve driver.
“Honestly right now I’m trying to do the best job in these races that I can. Once th is stint that I have is over then I can start looking at what options there are (for 2025), but right now it’s focused on these races.”
Lawson again delivered a solid display when he nearly reached Q3 at Suzuka, missing out by just 0.043s and citing the way his tire sets were utilized as the potential deciding factor.
“To be honest, before quali we didn’t (think Q3 was possible). I think that’s why we were quite aggressive with the tire strategy, we obviously used the three sets in Q1 and had a strong car and then Q2 I only had one set.
“I think looking back, obviously hindsight is a great thing… Yuki did a great job to put the car in Q3, I think we definitely had the potential now knowing that we could have done that.
“But for the information we had I think we made the right decision from where we were from practice, but obviously to miss out by such a small margin I would have loved another set of tires.”