Stroll is 2017’s seventh different Driver of the Weekend winner

2017 Azerbaijan GP Driver of the Weekend result

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Lance Stroll is the seventh different driver to have been voted Driver of the Weekend in the eight races so far this year.

It’s a stunning turnaround for the driver who had a tough start to his first season in Formula One.

Stroll finished third in Baku and was only pipped to second place by Valtteri Bottas in a thrilling side-by-side dash to the finishing line. The pair were separated by just a tenth of a second.

The Williams racer is the second driver in three races to take his first Driver of the Weekend win. Carlos Sainz Jnr won the poll for the first time at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Lance Stroll’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend

Stroll arrived in Azerbaijan following a breakthrough points finish on home ground in Canada. He’d also begun using a driving coach to hone his racecraft. The result was unquestionably his most assured performance in an F1 car to date.

In a weekend when driver after driver disappeared up Baku’s escape roads, Stroll was one of few who rarely if ever seemed to be seen reversing out of a dead-end. This couldn’t have contrasted more sharply with his error-prone start to life as an F1 driver.

For the first time ever he beat his team mate in qualifying, albeit by a slender margin of four-hundredths of a second. Felipe Massa got ahead of him in the race and looked set to stay there until a damper problem put him out.

Stroll, however, remained error-free despite growing pressure from Bottas over the final laps. He came very close to holding the Mercedes off for second place.

The question now is whether this fine drive was a one-off or whether Stroll really has come of age.

People say he should have been seventh, ninth or whatever but the point is Ocon and Perez clashed, Vettel got a deserved penalty, Hulkenberg smacked the wall, Verstappen and Massa’s car failed and Hamilton was forced to pit for the head rest.

At the end of the day, after endless criticism including from me, the lad kept his nose clean and raced well. Not getting caught up in clashes is luck yes but also careful driving, give the lad a break, his podium was deserved.

I’m going to go for Stroll. My first thought was that in a race where almost everyone else lost there head, I never would’ve imagined that Stroll would be one of the few to make it to the end undamaged. But that would be unfair to say it was a just a good performance by his standards; it was a great performance by anyone’s standards. Don’t think we could’ve asked for anymore from him.

The jury’s still out for me on whether he is a decent talent, but fair play to him, his performances so far compared to this weekend have been night and day. Those first points have done wonders for his confidence. I’ll gladly take back everything I’ve said about him if he keeps this up.

Has completely defied expectations in the last 2 weeks. It was only a month ago that people were saying he should be replaced before the end of the season. He put in a really professional performance for someone so young and inexperienced.
Phil Norman (@Phil-f1-21)

Azerbaijan Grand Prix winners and losers

Hamilton’s headrest ruined his race
Quite a few drivers had good cause to feel hard done by in Baku. Lewis Hamilton had led the race from pole position up until the moment his headrest worked loose, forcing him into the pits.

I understand why people are voting for Stroll: his first podium after a shaky start in the sport – and a solid weekend – but this race was a lottery, none of the podium were exceptional.

Hamilton’s pole lap was a voyage into the unknown, in which he demolished the competition – they all fell by the wayside: Bottas 0.434, Vettel 1.2, Verstappen fifth place. In the race he way flawless and deserved the win under very trying conditions: repeated Safety Cars and a red flag, each one obliterating his lead; and keeping a cool head after being the victim of a road rage incident in which the offender was let off the hook. Despite all this, Hamilton was on course to win comprehensively, but for the really unusual headrest problem, something completely out of his hands.

This was another emphatic performance from Hamilton, and all the more remarkable given the struggle Mercedes had to find a set-up to get the tyres working.
TGU (@Thegrapeunwashed)

Shortly before the race was red-flagged Hamilton had been hit from behind by Sebastian Vettel. The incident provoked an enormous amount of debate and could have further consequences as Vettel’s conduct is beeing examined by the FIA.

I don’t support this behavior at all. And while I don’t really like Hamilton’s calculated press responses most of the time, I agree that true colors showed up this weekend. Vettel always wanted to be seen as a cool-headed good guy, who condemns dangerous driving. Remember Vettel – Kvyat in China 2016?

Well, you gotta be consistent. If you believe Hamilton brake-tested you, raise the issue with the team and stewards, or talk to him eye-to-eye, like you did with Kvyat. Don’t ram a driver for crying out loud. It’s a miracle he wasn’t banned outright, and it was incredibly stupid to endanger his championship chances this way.

Daniel Ricciardo won the race from tenth on the grid following an early pit stop due to a brake problem. That’s an achievement which might ordinarily have earned him a lot more votes, but many felt it was clear Max Verstappen had been quicker in the same car:

I voted for Ricciardo not just because he won a difficult race but for his talent of making the best out of an awkward situation. I also think that the aerodynamics of the Red Bull helps his style of driving.

The Twitter verdict on the top drivers in Baku

Stroll’s surprise result was a talking point on Twitter, but not the biggest:

The Twitter verdict on Vettel and Hamilton’s clash

Unsurprisingly there was a lot more chatter about the collision between Vettel and Hamilton. There were far too many Tweets on this subject to include a large number of them below, but the selection below is fairly representative of the views which were put across. While some sided with Vettel, far more asked why he didn’t receive a much harsher punishment.

2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    24 comments on “Stroll is 2017’s seventh different Driver of the Weekend winner”

    1. I’ll have a small slice of humble pie, but no more than that!

      A fair result in my opinion. Stroll drove a very good race, out-qualified Massa and kept his nose clean, rewarded with a well-deserved podium. He’s certainly outdone himself in my book.

      Personally I’d still say he’s here a year too soon and I’d have preferred to see him in Formula Two for a year first as I don’t think he’s ready… but… credit where it’s due, this race was really solid and it’s not his fault that other drivers caused themselves problems. A mature performance.

      Well done Lance, but he needs to continue out-qualifying Massa and scoring regular points to make me finish off my aforementioned pie!

      1. Humble pie is the perfect comment. Had this been the 1st race all after would be forgiven. We would all be talking of the potential. Timing is luck of the draw. Maybe he has had more pressure than any rookie, a no win situation. He was being judged before the season started. Let’s see if he carrys on.

      2. +1 Aggreed. Humble slice right there. Slice does not a pie make. But 4-5 more slices like this, and he’ll prove himself to us.

        His first 6 races still were terrible. But if he can improve, than great.

    2. In a race with a lot of amateurish manoeuvres, a very mature drive from Stroll!
      Well deserved!

    3. Lately, he doesn’t seem to be a peril to the others like in the first few races, and also got a lot faster in qually. Still, i do believe a more experienced driver would have held second in front of Bottas. No sure if he made a mistake in Turn 16 or not, but the speed difference to Bottas was absurd (even with DRS and engine qually mode enabled).

      All in all, good stuff and well deserved! I’m actually happy for him, don’t know why exactly. Maybe it’s the way he answers to questions in interviews that i enjoy, as he’s not really a PR machine like most seasoned drivers.

      1. @gechichan I wouldn’t even say he was ever a peril to others in the 1st few races.

        While his pace may not have been fantastic I’d say his actual driving has been very clean. He’s hardly been off track, Not really made all that many mistakes & the 2 bits of contact he’s had with other cars were not exactly down to his mistakes (Perez in China was 50/50 & the one with Sainz in Bahrain was totally down to Sainz). The biggest mistake Stroll has made is sliding the back end out too much & hitting the wall during FP3 in Melbourne.

        With regards to losing 2nd at Baku. I don’t think he made a mistake as watching Bottas’ OnBoard he doesn’t really start catching him until they get past those 2 kinks. If Lance had made a mistake in T16 I woudl have thought Bottas would have started reeling him in immediately, But there speeds were pretty even until after those kinks.

    4. Stroll deserved his plaudits after his performance in Baku, particularly when you consider what a hard time he has gotten this season (the vast majority of which was justified). He was faultless in the race and finally got one over Massa in qualifying. It was a very mature performance from a very young man.

      What he needs to do now is carry on putting in performances like that.

    5. Stroll has upped his game in the last 3-4 races… can Palmer up his game now also?? ( a driver with similar critique lately) Palmer has 1 more year experience though, so I think it is unlikely to happen.

      1. Lance now has a podium in 7 races… Palmer has squaz.

    6. dayyummm, no insults towards Stroll? How’s that? Experts everywhere lol

    7. Yeah we need to give credit to the kid this time, Well done Stroll.

      Kept his cool, didn’t make mistakes, was improving on his personal best towards the end.

      Hope he keeps moving ahead and the podium doesn’t get to his head.

    8. Jorge Olivier
      30th June 2017, 20:46

      Don’t the rules explicitly prohibit what is seen in the photo? I remember the FIA making about of noise about it a couple of years ago.

    9. ILuvSoundtracks (@)
      30th June 2017, 20:55

      Lance Stroll silenced everyone.

    10. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      30th June 2017, 22:52

      Just out of interest, is that picture taken just after stroll is crossing the finish line? If so, surely it isn’t safe to do what his team is, especially one of them. What if he was to accidentally let go? He would fall on the track with loads of drivers still coming past. Surprised there isn’t something stopping them from doing this. It doesn’t look safe at all.

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        30th June 2017, 23:34

        What if Bottas chose to overtake on that side?

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          1st July 2017, 17:40

          Indeed. I really think this is something that must be dealt with. Something very bad could go wrong. If anyone fell down, that would be virtually all the drivers having to abort the final lap which would ruin it, and much more importantly, it is just dangerous. Fair enough year ago, but how are they getting away with doing this now when they have just crossed the finishing line on the longest strait on any F1 track. It is a massive risk. I am surprised nobody else has brought this up. waving your hands is one thing, leaning right out at an angle and balancing on one foot and holding on with one hand is something else.

      2. Jorge Olivier
        1st July 2017, 21:17

        I questioned that too. I remember it was explicitly prohibited two or three years ago and was clearly stated in the rules. But is not uncommon to see that (a) rules aren’t enforced or (b) some rules disappear from one year to the next only because somebody was too lazy to copy them into the new rules document.

    11. I feel relief for him. I think it is the first time I have this sort of feeling towards a sportsperson

    12. Sergey Martyn
      1st July 2017, 9:31

      I believed in Stroll and never understood the criticism he got so far.
      Very mature drive though losing P2 in the last corner and that disgusting Ricciardo’s drinking habbit spoiled a perfect weekend a bit.

    13. Nice to see Stroll winning this poll, but one question remains: did he lift on the final straight?

      1. Why would he lift? He got Mugged on the mamoth straight by a faster superior driver trying to prove his worth.

      2. Sundar Srinivas Harish
        2nd July 2017, 4:09

        With Lance being a Ferrari Academy graduate, I doubt he has any connections with Mercedes. His inclusion in the Williams squad was solely down to Laurence’s negotiations, and at this point he owes zilch to Brackley. Besides, I don’t think Merc has paid him any attention at all, he’s got his hands full with Ocon, Wehrlein and Bottas.

      3. Did he lift? Of course not, that’s just what being drs’ed looks like.

        As someone who was not willing to criticize LS, as I felt he was deserving of more patience than his detractors were willing to give him, I was also relieved, and thrilled for him. Special circumstances of course and that’s racing for you. I thought it was wonderful that losing the 2nd place to VB didn’t change anything for the Strolls or for Williams. It was truly like a victory for them.

        Likely he won’t podium again for a time but I hope his days become more solid and people give him their patience. He doesn’t have to beat FM, just be closer and be learning and progressing.

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