Liam Lawson Reveals Fernando Alonso’s “Clever” Trait That He Didn’t See Coming

Published 10/26/2023, 3:43 AM EDT

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A motorsport career spanning 22 years (and counting). A driver who’s 42 years old and still driving like he’s in the prime of his career. 32 career F1 wins, and prestigious wins in Le Mans and Daytona. 373 race starts, a tally that’s set to keep rising as, seemingly until he finally decides to hang up his boots. Fernando Alonso is nothing short of a 42-year-old in the body of a 25-year-old, racing like that’s all he’s ever known. And it’s true. The Spaniard, a stalwart of the sport, is an inspiration to so many drivers, and the newest addition to his fan club is AlphaTauri super-sub Liam Lawson.

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Liam Lawson got the opportunity of a lifetime when Daniel Ricciardo fractured his hand at the Dutch GP. Red Bull and AlphaTauri approached him for driving duties as the Aussie recovered. Five races. That’s what he got to prove he’s worth a full-time F1 seat, and boy, did he impress. While he did some impressing of his own, that didn’t stop him from appreciating the talent around him, too.

The Fernando Alonso Fanclub has a new member in Lawson

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Alonso isn’t known for his courteousness on track. If anything, he’s the antihero—as he says so himself—of F1. When he’s strapped in with his visor down, all he thinks about is competing. A lot of the time, his racer mentality is a little intimidating to some, but Lawson isn’t one of them. After massively impressing everyone with his performances from Zandvoort to Qatar—even securing AlphaTauri’s best season result with a P9 in Singapore—the rookie from New Zealand featured on F1’s Beyond The Grid Podcast.

Host Tom Clarkson asked him how the older guards—the established drivers—were around him for the five race weekends. Lawson replied, “Everybody to be fair, outside of the car, has been very welcoming and nice, which is really cool. I think it’s something that I maybe didn’t expect so much. I haven’t raced everybody, but there’s definitely a difference with guys like Fernando.” 

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His car placement is just very very clever. He’s very experienced and it comes out every time you’re racing him. We had a free practice session in Monza where it was at the end of the session. We were wheel-to-wheel. Guys like that who are that experienced always seem to put their car in the right place,” Lawson explained. With the years of experience Alonso has—not just in F1 but in so many other series—developing that racing acumen was inevitable. His racing IQ is understandably one of the best on the grid, whether it be in defending, attacking, or wheel-to-wheel racing. Alonso is the complete driver package, and there’s no denying it.

52 y.o. Veteran Made Horner’s Shortlist to Neutralize Fernando Alonso Before Liam Lawson Got Final Approval

Alonso may have left Lawson impressed with his car placement and racing ability, but he left a three-time world champion shaking in his boots.

Fernando Alonso could’ve ruined the party atmosphere at Zandvoort

Circuit Zandvoort, home to the Dutch GP, is known for its party atmosphere. The rowdy Orange Army cheering their home hero, Max Verstappen, is a sight to behold. What Zandvoort isn’t known for is its impromptu rain showers, and that’s precisely what spiced things up at the Dutch GP this season. Verstappen, as usual, secured pole position and got off the line well at the start. Comfortable leading, he had Alonso for company behind him after Lap 1. After conditions cleared up, Alonso’s Aston Martin struggled to keep up with the Red Bulls, but a late downpour worked in his favor once more. 

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In the end, he finished just four seconds off Verstappen. In a post-race interview, the then-two-time champion said, “The race in Zandvoort, I know that I’m leading the championship and if I go off and I’m stuck, you know, you lose a lot of points. So you’re always driving a little bit under the limit. When I was out there on slicks, I felt a bit pressured. Sometimes there are people behind you that are a bit faster because they have nothing to lose.” Alonso obviously didn’t have anything to lose, and had Verstappen succumbed to the pressure, Alonso could’ve very well ruined the party at Zandvoort.

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Watch This Story: Will Fernando Alonso & Aston Martin Be a Top F1 Championship Contender Soon?

What are your thoughts on the racing IQ and the experience Fernando Alonso has built over the years?

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Written by:

Aditi Krishnan

757Articles

One take at a time

Aditi is a senior F1 writer at EssentiallySports. She fell in love with F1 in 2020. It happened when her brother tuned into that first race weekend in Austria, and she knew right then and there that she had to learn everything she could about the sport.
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Edited by:

Akash Pandhare

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