Liam Lawson has expressed his regret at using up an extra set of tyres during his runs in Q1, which prevented his chances of getting into Q3 during qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix.
Tyre degradation has been high at the Suzuka circuit, forcing teams to use at least two sets for flying laps in qualifying, with the red-marked Soft tyres unable to compete more than one push lap before peak performance is not available to the driver.
Many drivers set one timed lap and then halfway through each segment switched to a new set, which would prompt a raft of late improvements at the end of each.
Lawson’s AlphaTauri was caught out in Q1 due to the red flag brought out by Logan Sargeant, and had to use another set of Softs which compromised his chances of getting into Q3.
The New Zealander would go onto miss Q3 by the narrowest of margins, and is set to line up 11th on the grid, behind Fernando Alonso.
Lawson: There was definitely a tenth in there
“We went quite aggressive with the tyre strategy. We used the three sets in Q1 and had a strong car, then in Q2 I only had one set,” Lawson told media, including RacingNews365.
“Looking back, obviously hindsight is a great thing, Yuki [Tsunoda] did a great job getting the car into Q3.
“We definitely had the potential now, knowing that we could have done that.
“But with the information we had, I think we made the right decision, from where we were for practice and to miss out by such a small margin.
“I would have loved another set of tyres.”
Lawson set the fourth quickest time at the end of Q1, but he puts it down to finding more time as the track evolution took shape on the new sets.
“It’s just that natural progression, obviously from Q1 we would just keep finding time on each tyre,” he explained.
“In Q2, from only having one set to having another new set you find time.
“I think missing out by such a small margin, there was definitely a tenth in there we could have found.”