Lawson deputised for Ricciardo after the Australian broke a bone in his left hand following a crash during practice for the Dutch Grand Prix.
The New Zealander's five-race stint catapulted him into the conversation for a full-time seat at a time when he felt his dream of making it to F1 was beginning to fade.
Lawson, however, was overlooked in favour of Ricciardo and incumbent Tsunoda in the other Scuderia AlphaTauri when it came to the team's 2024 line-up.
“I interviewed him on the grid in Zandvoort,” Collins told Speedcafe on today's episode of the KTM Summer Grill.
“That was his first race in the car and I have never seen anyone so calm – much calmer than I would be in that situation.
“I think they'd had a wet weekend up to that point, and it was the first laps he was going to do on dry tyres, massively different fuel load to what he'd run… just so much stuff going on, your mind's racing. But he was so calm.”
Lawson was told he didn't have a drive for 2024 over the Singapore Grand Prix weekend, where he delivered – to that point – the team's best result of the year.
The 22-year-old would, ordinarily, be an ideal fit for the team, which has long blooded new drivers.
The very premise of the team is changing, too, with less emphasis on young driver development and more on standing up in its own right as a viable entity.
Ricciardo's return is evidence of that, as is Tsunoda remaining on for a fourth season.
Collins suggests, however, that the Japanese driver's seat should instead have gone to Lawson.
“It's a pity in F1 that some things are led by sponsors, some things are led by dealings, whatever, but on pure performance, he should be in a car, he should be in a seat,” she argued.
“And arguably, that should have been the AlphaTauri seat with Daniel Ricciardo because you would have a very strong line-up of a young guy that's clearly very good, and Ricciardo who has very strong pace and a lot of experience.
“That would work really well, you'd imagine, for the AlphaTauri team, that mix. That's not happened, which is a pity.
“What's going to be very interesting going forward now is what Liam's able to do over the next season. [He] needs to be in a strong position to step into that car.
“But you would like to think that other team managers are sitting, looking at his performance, going ‘to get in a car that quickly is no mean feat'.
“So yeah, I totally think he deserves that spot on the grid, and it's a bit of a pity that he's missed it.
“But he has given himself one fantastic interview. He cannot do any better than he did.”