In his only trackside interview, 16-year-old Kiwi Liam Lawson said one of the highlights of his championship-winning run was beating his mentor Kenny Smith over the line.

The New Zealand Grand Prix was decided after a fearsome battle on the Chris Amon Track at Manfeild between some of the fastest racing teams from around the world.

"This weekend we came into it with the championship on the line as well," Lawson said.

"So to crack both is pretty unbelievable."


And crack it he did - wide open.

Speaking at the track afterwards, he was absolutely stoked. Lawson won the Grand Prix, the Championship Title, and he also got to compete against the legendary Kenny Smith.

"He's been a mentor to me for the last 4-5 years, after I first jumped from go-karting to the cars. I raced Formula First, he came alongside half-way through that season and I was very close to him."

Smith, 77, was racing in his 48th NZ Grand Prix, and did well to finish.

"Only eight cars finished and he finished in the top 8, so that was pretty cool,' Lawson said.

"This is the first weekend I've ever gone up against him and it's the first time I've actually had to teach him a few things!"

The veteran driver and the young winner were among the few who finished the race after half the field was knocked out "due to some very competitive driving".

The main race at times looked like a demolition derby having to re-start three times.

The NZ GP behind them, the future looks bright for Liam and his main rival, Marcus Armstong.


"[I'm] looking to F3 but should know in the next week or two what category. There's a lot of new categories coming up in Europe so it's basically about picking the right ones so we're still working on that."

But he's coy about Formula 1.

"If everything comes together, yeah I'll be living in Europe again this year so it'll be another big year hopefully."

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