Lawson: I was “too aggressive” in Nojiri battle after spin wrecks race

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Lawson acknowledged that he had adopted an overly aggressive approach during his clash with Nojiri, which resulted in his race being compromised following a spin. When Dandelion driver Kakunoshin Ota experienced a stall on the grid after securing the second spot in qualifying, Lawson, starting from third, immediately took an offensive stance. He engaged in a battle for the lead against his Mugen teammate Nojiri in the initial sequence of corners.

As they approached the right-hand Turn 2 side by side, Lawson found himself with limited space and was compelled to ride over the kerbs as they exited the corner. This caused him to lose control and spin back onto the track in a chaotic manner. Tadasuke Makino and Yuhi Sekiguchi were unable to avoid the ensuing collision and both ended up airborne due to the impact. Nobuharu Matsushita also got caught up in the incident, prompting the race officials to red flag the race.

Although Makino, Sekiguchi, and Matsushita had to retire immediately, Lawson managed to bring his car back to the pits, where the Mugen mechanics effectively repaired the vehicle before the race resumed. Nonetheless, his hopes of a strong recovery were dashed by a drive-through penalty for violating Super Formula’s regulations regarding car repairs under red flag conditions. As a result, the New Zealand driver ultimately finished in a distant 13th place.

When asked about his perspective on the battle for the lead with Nojiri, Lawson maintained that he had been forced wide by his teammate’s actions. However, he also admitted that he could have chosen a more cautious approach and backed out of the maneuver. He stated, “In hindsight, I might have been too aggressive and should have settled for second.” Despite this, he highlighted his racing instinct to always exploit available gaps.

He further explained, “It was a forceful move, and I stand by the fact that I was pushed off. The corner was quite long, and right from its entry, we were side by side. As we progressed through the turn, I continued to stay alongside and was making progress.” Lawson emphasized that his decision to engage in such a move was influenced by his understanding of Nojiri’s racing style based on their interactions throughout the year.

Lawson noted, “With certain drivers, I wouldn’t attempt that kind of maneuver. However, given Nojiri-san’s typical approach, I would usually go for it. Perhaps, due to the fact that there were only two races remaining and he needed to make up points, he was more aggressive today. To be honest, I didn’t anticipate it. Looking back on the first lap, I probably should have held back, but in the moment, I felt I had been pushed off.”

He acknowledged the occurrence of incidents in racing where the blame isn’t entirely yours, yet there are opportunities to handle situations differently to prevent them. While he didn’t force himself off the track, he did admit that his aggressiveness might have been excessive.

Lawson expressed his initial frustration with Nojiri’s defensive actions over the team radio, stating that Nojiri had forcefully pushed him wide. However, he revealed that he and Nojiri have since talked and resolved the issue amicably. Lawson said, “Initially, I was upset due to the incident and the points situation. However, having been his teammate for a considerable period, I know he’s a genuinely good person. I hold a lot of respect for him, and I’m certain he didn’t intend to push me off or cause an accident. Maybe he believed he had provided more room, but I could have chosen to back off and play it safer. We spoke and things are fine now.”

At the start of the race, Lawson was tied on points with TOM’S driver Ritomo Miyata, having secured an extra bonus point for his third-place qualification. However, this marked his first race without earning any points for the season, leaving him eight points behind Miyata, who managed to recover from a stall at the initial start and finish fourth. Nojiri, who faced dim prospects for clinching a third Super Formula title after missing the Autopolis round due to a collapsed lung, is now trailing Lawson by only two points in the championship standings, with the final two races scheduled at Suzuka in October.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Aggressive driving

What happened during the race between Lawson and Nojiri?

Lawson engaged in an aggressive battle with Nojiri for the lead, resulting in a collision and spin.

How did the collision impact the race?

The collision caused chaos on the track, with multiple cars being involved in the incident.

What penalties did Lawson face?

Lawson received a drive-through penalty for violating car repair rules under red flag conditions.

How did the race end for Lawson?

Due to the collision and penalties, Lawson finished in a distant 13th position.

Did Lawson regret his approach?

In hindsight, Lawson admitted that he might have been too aggressive and should have settled for a different strategy.

How did Lawson describe the incident?

Lawson maintained that he was pushed off track by Nojiri, but also acknowledged that he could have chosen a different approach.

Did Lawson and Nojiri resolve their differences?

Yes, Lawson and Nojiri talked and cleared the air after the incident.

What was the impact on Lawson’s championship position?

Lawson’s non-score in the race left him eight points behind Miyata in the championship standings.

What’s the status of Nojiri in the championship?

Despite a collapsed lung and missed race, Nojiri is now only two points behind Lawson in the standings.

What are the remaining races in the season?

The final two races of the Super Formula season are scheduled to take place at Suzuka in October.

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