Liam Lawson says points weren’t his priority despite the AlphaTauri replacement scoring on just his third start in the challenging Singapore grand prix.

Daniel Ricciardo was present in Singapore to help in an engineering capacity as Lawson took on the tough street circuit while he continues to deputize for the injured Australian. Reaching Q3 for the first time – as the lead Red Bull driver – was a major achievement in itself but Lawson backed that up with ninth place after George Russell’s late crash, although he says the final result is not the only way to earn himself a full-time drive.

“Maybe 20 laps to go, before Max (Verstappen) and the Red Bulls were coming back, at that point I thought we had a chance,” Lawson said. “Then I felt like it was slipping away. Again. And I guess when Checo (Perez) and (Alex) Albon had their fight and Albon went back, that was when I felt a bit more comfortable that like we could at least score P10.

“And obviously it was a bonus… I mean not a bonus to see somebody crash out for George, but for us obviously it means we get an extra point.

“It’s a goal, but to be honest, I’m just trying to maximize every race, every session and finish as high as we can. So (on Sunday) that was points, which is great. We’ll try and do even more hopefully in the future for… if I get the chance to drive again.”

Lawson looked physically drained after what is the toughest fitness test on the calendar, and admits that was one area where he struggled, as well as executing his race start.

“It was tough. Obviously this place is extremely tough on the body, especially when you’re fighting the car a lot. It makes it that bit extra difficult. But happy to survive the race.

“For me, the start I need to get on top of, because it’s now two weekends in a row that I’ve botched the start, basically, and lost a couple of positions. So it’s just making our life more difficult. So that’s really the biggest loss of the race. And that’s on my part.

“For the rest, I think we extracted everything out of the car. We didn’t quite have the race pace. To be honest, we kind of felt going into the race it was going to be a little bit difficult, because we felt this on Friday as well. But we tried to correct it as much as we could. So, I think we maximized.”