Motorsport: Kiwi Liam Lawson finishes 13th in Formula One debut at Dutch Grand Prix

Kiwi Liam Lawson has finished 13th - and ahead of teammate Yuki Tsunoda - in his Formula One debut at the Dutch Grand Prix, as a replacement for injured Daniel Ricciardo at AlphaTauri.

After lurking on the fringes of the world's premier motorsport competition, Lawson, 21, was called into the big leagues when Ricciardo broke his hand last week and had the thrill of overtaking five-time F1 winner Charles Leclerc on lap 41, before the Ferrari driver retired with a damaged floor.

With limited opportunities, Lawson qualified 20th and last, starting at the back of the field, but acquitted himself well to finish 26 seconds behind Dutch winner and championship leader Max Verstappen. 

Liam Lawson passes Charles Leclerc at the Dutch Grand Prix.
Liam Lawson passes Charles Leclerc at the Dutch Grand Prix. Photo credit: Getty Images

He became the first Kiwi to race in an F1 event, since Brendon Hartley, who also raced for Alpha Tauri - then Toro Rosso - in 2017-18.

"I'm glad to have done it now, to be able to learn from this and take it forward," said Lawson. "Hopefully, I get the opportunity to drive again and I can use everything I learned today.

"Main target today was to do all 72 laps. Looking back, with all the mixed conditions, it was probably good to have gone through that."

Verstappen celebrated a record-equalling ninth successive victory, after beating the rain to win a chaotic and red-flagged race for the third year in a row.

The Red Bull driver's home triumph from pole position at a soggy Zandvoort equalled now-retired four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel's 2013 streak of success with the same team.

It was also Red Bull's 14th consecutive triumph and 13th of the season, with the Italian Grand Prix at Monza following next weekend.

The race started dry, before rain caused chaos at the end of lap one, with a dry period followed by a torrential downpour that halted proceedings for 40 minutes on the 65th of 72 laps, with cars skidding off.

Fernando Alonso put Aston Martin back on the podium with second place and a bonus point for fastest lap, after the eventual rolling re-start behind the safety car led to a thrilling final chase at the seaside circuit.

Pierre Gasly was third - his first podium finish for Renault-owned Alpine - as Red Bull's Sergio Perez collected a five-second post-race penalty for speeding in pitlane and dropped to fourth.

Verstappen now leads closest rival Perez by a mighty 138 points with nine races remaining.

"Incredible," said Verstappen, 25, as his army of orange-clad fans began the celebrations.

"They didn't make it easy for us with the weather to make all the right calls. Incredibly proud. 

"I already had goosebumps when they were playing the national anthem, before the start," added Verstappen, who chatted happily with the Dutch king and queen before the podium ceremonies.

"Even with all the bad weather, the rain, the fans are still going at it, so an incredible atmosphere."

Verstappen's 11th victory of the season and 46th of his career provided another big push towards clinching a third title, well before the end of the season.

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz finished fifth, with Lewis Hamilton sixth for Mercedes and fellow-Briton Lando Norris seventh for McLaren.

Alex Albon collected more precious points for Williams in eighth, ahead of McLaren's Oscar Piastri and Esteban Ocon 10th for Alpine.