New Zealand driver’s surprise cameo in famous F1 photo

After the simple act of lending someone a pair of boots, aspiring Kiwi driver Liam Lawson had the unique experience of seeing them at the centre of a controversy on the Formula 1 track.

The 19-year-old Lawson had lent a pair of his boots to Red Bull driver Max Verstappen at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku last weekend, as the F1 ace’s own boots had not arrived in time for the racing and teammate Sergio Perez’s spare pair were too small.

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Lawson, who drives for the Hitech Grand Prix team in Formula 2, was told by team boss Oliver Oakes that Verstappen would need his boots.

“I was at the hotel for a little bit and came back to the track between one of the sessions and my team boss Oli (Oakes) sent me a photo,” Lawson told Velocity News.

“(Oli) said, ‘I just gave these to Red Bull and Max needs to wear them because you’re the only person with the same size feet’.

“They weren’t even Red Bull boots. I am kind of sad I didn’t give him nice boots. They were just plain Puma boots, and he wore those for the rest of the weekend.

“My boots get to F1 and I don’t.”

Max Verstappen kicks the tyre of his Red Bull.Source:Getty Images

Verstappen wore Lawson’s boots for the race and, when one of his rear tyres blew out as he led the field in the late stages of the race, they were the ones he was in when he kicked his car in frustration at the equipment malfunction.

Verstappen was one of two drivers to have an issue with their tyres during the race, with Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll also having a tyre blowout. Tyre manufacturer Pirelli has since suggested the issues could have been caused by track debris.

In the F2 event in Baku, Lawson displayed his speed in qualifying to earn pole position but was unable to take advantage in the main event, finishing sixth.

HiTech Grand Prix teammate Juri Vips won the feature race. Lawson also finished seventh in the second sprint race of the weekend but was held up due to a crash in the first.

A post shared by Liam Lawson (@liamlawson30)

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“It was pretty frustrating to have the speed as shown in qualifying and have my first pole, which was really nice and set up the whole weekend to be nice and clean,” Lawson told Gold AM’s Country Sport Breakfast.

“I was really looking forward to get to the weekend and bag some solid points because we had the best starting position to do that.”

This article originally appeared on the NZ Herald and was reproduced with permission

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