With Dandelion driver Kakunoshin Ota stalling on the grid after qualifying second, Lawson received on the offensive from third place and challenged his Mugen team-mate Nojiri for the lead within the opening sequence of corners.
The 2 drivers ran side-by-side into the Flip 2 right-hander however Lawson was left with little room and needed to go over the kerbs on the exit of the nook.
This left him spinning again on observe in an uncontrollable vogue, with each Tadasuke Makino and Yuhi Sekiguchi unable to keep away from him and going airborne after the impression. Nobuharu Matsushita was additionally concerned within the melee, prompting the race management to deliver out purple flags.
Whereas Makino, Sekiguchi and Matsushita all retired on the spot, Lawson was extremely in a position to get his automotive again into the pits, with Mugen mechanics efficiently finishing a full restore earlier than the race resumed.
Nevertheless, a drive-through penalty for violating Tremendous Method’s guidelines concerning engaged on the automotive underneath purple flags put paid to any hopes of a powerful restoration, with the Kiwi finally ending a distant thirteenth.
Liam Lawson, TEAM MUGEN
Photograph by: Masahide Kamio
Requested to clarify the lead battle with Nojiri from his standpoint, Lawson maintained that he had been pushed huge by his team-mate, but in addition felt he may have been left aggressive and backed out of the transfer.
“Wanting again, perhaps I used to be too aggressive and I ought to have stayed second,” the 21-year-old informed Autosport. “However I’m a racing driver, so I at all times go for a spot.”
He added: “It was aggressive, I stand by [saying that I was] pushed off. It’s an extended nook, and from the entry of the nook, I had wheels alongside. As we went additional across the nook, I continued to maneuver alongside, I used to be gaining and gaining. Whenever you race towards totally different drivers, you could have an thought of how folks race.
“On sure drivers, I wouldn’t go for that form of transfer. However on Nojiri-san, usually I might go for it primarily based on how he’s raced me this 12 months.
“However as a result of it’s two races to go and he wanted to make up factors, perhaps he was extra aggressive immediately. To be trustworthy, I didn’t anticipate it. Lap one, wanting again, I ought to have simply left it, however on the time I felt I had been pushed off.
“You could have incidents on a regular basis when however’s not your fault, however you possibly can have performed one thing in another way to keep away from it. I didn’t drive myself off the observe, however perhaps I used to be too aggressive.”
Lawson was pissed off with Nojiri’s defence over group radio, claiming the Japanese driver had pushed him huge in a livid message.
Nevertheless, Lawson revealed that they’ve since spoken to one another and cleared the air.
“Initially I used to be upset due to the incident and the factors scenario, however after being his team-mate this lengthy, I do know he’s an excellent particular person,” he mentioned.
“I’ve numerous respect for him and I do know he wouldn’t deliberately push me off or trigger an accident. Possibly he thought he had left me extra space, however from my aspect, I may have backed out and performed it safer. We spoke and every little thing is okay.”
Lawson began the race stage on factors with TOM’S driver Ritomo Miyata, having bagged an additional bonus level for qualifying third.
However his first non-score of the season has left him eight factors adrift of Miyata, who completed fourth after recovering from a stall on the unique begin.
Nojiri, whose probabilities of a 3rd Tremendous Method title have been wanting bleak after he needed to miss the Autopolis spherical in Could as a result of a collapsed lung, is now solely two factors behind Lawson within the standings with simply the ultimate two races at Suzuka to run in October.