Liam Lawson has finished a commendable eleventh in this morning’s Italian Grand Prix, running a two-stop strategy and gaining a spot post-race after Oscar Piastri was penalised for leaving the track and gaining an advantage.
In just his second start, it was yet another consistent performance from the Kiwi, who looked right at home in the pack of the world’s premier series to achieve a result better than any managed by former AlphaTauri driver Nyck De Vries across his ten starts.
Max Verstappen became the first driver to take ten consecutive Grand Prix victories, overcoming a spirited Carlos Sainz in the early stages to pull clear for what proved a commanding win.
The victory also makes it 15 in a row for Red Bull, who also celebrate a one-two result with Sergio Perez finding a way past Sainz in the closing stages following an intense battle.
Third place gives Sainz a well-deserved podium, with the Ferrari driver kept busy fending off challenges from Verstappen, Perez and his teammate Charles Leclerc throughout the race. The latter attempted a bold Turn 1 move on the final lap to take the podium off his teammate, only to lock up and lose ground.
George Russell and Lewis Hamilton crossed the line fifth and sixth, respectively, but both had five-second penalties looming over them. Both, however, had built gaps large enough to retain their positions at the flag.
Alex Albon came home for a respectable seventh, ahead of Lando Norris, Fernando Alonso and Valtteri Bottas, who rounded out the top ten.
AlphaTauri had been on the back before the race even begun, with Yuki Tsunoda grinding to a halt on the formation lap with a suspected MGU-H issue. This delayed the start by over 20 minutes and reduced the length to 51 laps, accounting for the two additional formation laps.
Once proceedings did begin, Sainz was able to pull clear of Verstappen off the line, with Leclerc slotting into third ahead of Russell and Perez.
Lawson was slower than those around to launch, but the empty space to his left saw him dart across the track to take the outside line at Turn 1 but hold the inside at Turn 2 to fall into 12th.
While Sainz kept Verstappen and Leclerc at bay up front, Russell and Perez were locked in their own battle, resulting in the pair losing touch with the front three.
Nico Hulkenberg, who had moved to 10th off the start, proved to be the road block in the mid-pack, resulting in a long DRS train forming behind. Alonso would make his way past on Lap 8, while Lawson followed through on Lap 12 and began to put a gap on those behind.
Lawson was among the first to make their first pit stop, changing from mediums to hards on Lap 11 and dropping down the order.
Verstappen would finally find a way to take the lead on Lap 15, capitalising on one of many lockups from a Ferrari to get better traction out of the opening chicane and take the inside line into Turn 4. Once he hit the front he was quick to put a gap on Sainz, which he continued to build until the end of the race.
Elsewhere, Perez finally got past Russell on Lap 16 at Turn 1 but was some distance behind the Ferraris, who were running line-astern for second spot on the road.
With Perez in clear air behind, Ferrari made the decision to box Sainz on Lap 19, while Mercedes also did the same for Russell. Verstappen and Leclerc would both cover their stops a lap later, as would Perez on Lap 21. All would return to their original running order.
Once the first window had played out, Lawson found himself back in eleventh. Further ahead, Perez had successfully bridged the gap to the Ferrari duo, taking Leclerc on Lap 32 to move into the podium places.
Lawson came in for his second stop on Lap 33, making the switch back to mediums to return to the track in 16th, five seconds behind Esteban Ocon. Clear air and fresh tyres worked in favour of the Kiwi, who was back in DRS range of the Alpine by Lap 39, only for Ocon to dive into the pits for his own second stop before Lawson could pass.
With ten laps left Lawson had moved to 14th but had a large gap to Lance Stroll ahead. Piastri and Hamilton, meanwhile, would make contact at Turn 4 while fighting inside the top ten on lap 41, resulting in a damaged front wing for the McLaren which was forced to stop. Hamilton’s five-second penalty was a result of this incident, which saw both drivers come precariously close to turning around at speed.
Piastri returned to the track in 14th, behind Lawson, and would quickly catch up to fall within DRS range of the Kiwi. It was at this point where Lawson caught Stroll, who he overtook to move to 12th. Piastri would also follow to remain on the rear of his trans-Tasman rival.
Up front the battle for the minor podium places had also sprung to life, with Sainz doing well to keep Perez at bay. Leclerc had also remained in rnage of the Red Bull, setting up a thrilling three-car battle over the final laps.
Perez would finally take second on Lap 46, while Leclerc looked to have snatched the final podium place the following circuit, only to lock up at Turn 1 and allow his teammate back through.
The two Ferraris ran precariously close over the final laps, resulting in multiple lockups and several near misses. Sainz held off a desperate last lap from Leclerc for the final podium place, topping his teammate by 0.184 seconds
Piastri found a way past Lawson on Lap 49 but ran over the Turn 8 chicane. He failed to regress prior to the chequered flag, resulting in his 5-second post-race penalty which relegated him a position.
Both Piastri and Lawson passed Logan Sargeant on the penultimate lap , the Williams driver also having a 5-second penalty to his name for earlier contact with Bottas.
Bottas ran a well-driven one-stop race for tenth, finishing six seconds ahead of Lawson. Eleventh place is another commendable result for the Kiwi, who continues to make the most of his opportunity in the sport while Daniel Ricciardo recovers from injury.
Formula 1 returns for the Singapore Grand Prix in two weeks, and it is unknown whether Lawson will return to the grid.
One thing for certain, however, is that continuous performances like these will leave Red Bull looking to quickly increase the amount of track time for Lawson.