Pukekohe teenager Liam Lawson has finished second in the German Formula 4 championship in a dramatic season finale that saw him gain two more podiums and two pole positions.
Liam entered the last three races of the season at Hockenheim in a three-way fight for the runner-up position, but snatched back the position he’d held for most of the season in the penultimate race.
“I would say it’s been a very successful year, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed we couldn’t bring home the win. But considering everything that’s happened this year, second is a good result,” he said.
With 11 podiums, including three wins, the 16 year old took the title-fight to new champion Lirim Zendeli all season long, but a poor penultimate round at Nurburgring allowed the experienced German driver to wrap up the championship.
“The biggest challenges of the year were definitely the races in Nurburgring, where nothing seemed to go our way and that was where we really lost the chance of winning the championship,” Liam said.
It was the first round all season in which Liam had failed to finish any race in a points-scoring position in his Turners-backed F4 car, and he dropped to third on the championship table, overtaken by Brazilian Enzo Fittipaldi and allowing his Van Amersfoort Racing teammate Fredrik Vesti (Denmark) to close in.
However, both his rivals had issues at the Hockenheim finale, and although Liam was taken out by another competitor in the last race, by finishing second and third in the others it was good enough to secure the runner-up spot.
In less than three years Liam has finished in the top two of three motor racing championships. In February last year he won the New Zealand F1600 (Formula Ford) championship, then finished runner-up in the Australian Formula 4 championship, and now runner-up in the German series.
But venturing to Europe has been a big step up in competition and the level of the sport.
“I would say this year has been a lot tougher and I’ve had to step up a lot to be fighting at the front, so finishing second here feels a bit more special.
“And I can’t thank Turners, the Giltrap and Porter Group enough for the support they have given me this year. Without that and the faith of my backers in New Zealand it wouldn’t have been possible,” added Liam.
Returning home for a Kiwi summer, Liam hopes to be a starter in the Toyota Racing Series and the New Zealand Grand Prix in February next year, but stresses a deal to race is still a long way off.
After not being allowed to race last summer because he didn’t meet the minimum age requirement, Liam is keen to be on the grid when the series kicks off in early January.