Lance Stroll, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Stroll working on his qualifying “weakness” for 2018

2018 F1 season

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Lance Stroll says improving his “weakness” in qualifying is one of his goals for the 2018 F1 season.

The Williams driver said he improved rapidly during his debut season last year. “I was a different driver at the end of the year to where I started at the beginning of the year in so many ways,” he explained, adding he needs to raise his game on Saturdays.

“Some of my weaknesses last year was I believe probably qualifying,” said Stroll. “With very little running that we had in practice sessions on the quali tyre and quali mode, it sometimes makes it challenging to then go into qualifying.”

“Also the car wasn’t always competitive in qualifying. Both of us were often getting knocked out of Q1. It never gave me a lot of time to actually improve because you do two runs in Q1, that’d be our qualifying. When you do Q2 and Q3 you get to become a better qualifier because it’s different practice, more tyres and then that helps for the next race.

“Also the balance of the car wasn’t really suiting me and I had a tough time driving around some of those problems. That was a bit of an issue last year but this year I believe we’ve made some steps in the right direction. It’s been a good winter of reflection and work in order to improve on some of those weaknesses.

“But at the same time last year I look at some of my strengths, scoring the points we scored, some of the results we had were incredible highlights. I want to build on that this year.”

Stroll was eliminated in the first round of qualifying 12 times last year compared to team mate Felipe Massa’s three Q1 eliminations. In 20 races Stroll qualified ahead of his team mate three times, including one occasion when Paul di Resta substituted for Massa at short notice.

Starting further down the grid made life more difficult for him last year, Stroll admitted.

“Qualifying is not where the points are, points are on Sunday. But if you’re not starting in a good position it’s pretty intense on Sunday. The weekend in general is pretty intense but it’s all positive energy, it’s all good stuff.

“You’ve got to gather your information together before qualifying, through the practice sessions, absorb all the information. Get the car suited to you and then when your head’s in the right place and the car’s working, everything pinpointed, the result is just the outcome of all that information.”

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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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37 comments on “Stroll working on his qualifying “weakness” for 2018”

  1. Only qualifying?

    1. +1

    2. Yeah he will addess his race weakness in 2019 and 2020.

    3. W (@vishnusxdx)
      20th March 2018, 21:28

      Yeah, while he’s at it he could take a look at his *inhales* starts, racepace, wheel-to-wheel-racing, overtaking, finishes (gotta release throttle AFTER the finishline) and cool-down laps!

    4. Why did he not run more quali runs in testing? Is he criticizing his own team?

      1. Yes, it does sound mysterious. I would have thought there’d have been a benefit in putting in as many race – pace Free Practice laps as you can.

      2. Maybe testing times was his qualifying pace :)

    5. It seemed that qualifying was Stroll’s stronger suit. The rest of the weekend, not nearly as good.

  2. This year will be tougher for him, and he needs to be successful this year. With the experienced Massa gone, Williams will be banking on Stroll to deliver the goods. I wish him luck!

    1. I think this year should be tough, as it should be tough for all drivers since F1 is hard, but I don’t necessarily agree that it should be tougher, since he’s got a year’s experience under his belt, knows more about what to expect and what his weaknesses are, and if they’ve been able to address some of the issues, such as getting the tires to work, then he may find it easier, or a least more fun and less discouraging.

    2. Williams are in big trouble…following the same path as brabham, lotus ect merge,buy out or die in the next few years..maybe Formula e.

    3. He’s now up against a not-too-well-regarded rookie. This year couldn’t possibly be easier for him, really.

      1. one doesn’t have to be a great rookie to beat him.
        i would easily bet my money that Sirotkin is going to outperform him.

        Sirotkin is a professional, someone with mileage to be there. Stroll with a full year on his belt still doesn’t drive like someone who always knows what he is doing.

  3. Imagine being a Williams engineer!!

    “Yeah mate you’re doing great”

  4. So i suppose race weakness is to be addressed later…

  5. Solid quotes from a guy learning to compete with the big dogs. We’ll see how this year goes. Hopefully he can put to rest some more critics.

    1. Learning to compete with the big dogs? Better concentrate first beating your teammate, that will probably be already to big of a task.

      1. Starting with Massa that destroyed him, while struggling to compete with Bottas on the previous year, who … I know we cannot make direct comparaison like this, but its fair to say that Stroll F1 carreer has been bleak so far, so he will need a really awesome season to make me “respecting” him as F1 driver.

        1. So, first off I highly doubt his main focus will be on beating his teammate. I would think the main goal will be that he, Sirotkin, and Kubica work together to improve the car and keep improving it. Sure no driver will like being outdone by his teammate, and comparisons will be inevitable and unavoidable, but really, they have bigger fish to fry than a bit of bragging rights. There’s not been much to brag about at Williams lately.

          Also, I would expect a rookie to get ‘destroyed’ by a seasoned veteran such as FM, or else F1 isn’t hard enough. We know that the Williams was not a great car last year, and we know one of the big issues was getting the tires into the right operating temp. So…bad car on bad tires, and a rookie…how much more could he have done? He was also taken out through no fault of his own in the first three races, hurting him further for car/learning time.

          He’s got this season. Let’s see what he can now do with it. If he’s a different driver, and the car is different, and presumably not worse, then perhaps he may surprise some people.

          1. I suggest you look at talented rookie’s first season against seasoned driver. Maybe stroll will progress this year, i really hope for him, but nevertheless his first season in F1 was dreadful.

          2. Yes, usually top drivers are very strong from the beginning, like schumacher, hamilton, alonso, villeneuve (one could argue he’s not even a top driver, yet his 1996 season was great), so I guess stroll will never be like that, could still become a midfield driver however, perez level, we’ll see if he does better.

          3. Van Doorne’s average gap to Alonso was 1/3 of Stroll’s average gap to Massa, and Massa is no Alonso. And Ocon was closer than that to Perez.

  6. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    20th March 2018, 20:26

    I guess Lance is aiming for 8.6 in 2018…

  7. Didn’t he qualify well in Monza?

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      20th March 2018, 22:00

      Yes, he did brilliantly there. I think him and Hamilton were easily the stand outs that day. And he didn’t stand out just because he was known to be a bad driver. That was a seriously good lap. 3 tenths off the Red Bulls which have low down force and are usually significantly better than a Williams in the wet. And considering how highly rated Ricciardo and Verstappen are makes that lap by Stroll even more impressive.

      But most of the time, Stroll really has been poor in qualifying.

  8. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    20th March 2018, 21:54

    I think we need to give Stroll another chance. I actually liked his attitude to things last year. He got too much pressure from the media and did well to cope with it. I do think he got better over the season, though not by much. And he certainly had one or two strong races.

    But I think he came in a year too soon. If he had come in this year with more prepared, he could well have turned out to be very good. It could be the case that coming into F1 possibly a bit too early has been a benefit to him. I expect he will just about manage to beat his team mate and hopefully show he is a decent F1 driver.

    1. There’s only one driver that made a career out of having such a lacklustre start, and that was JB.

  9. I wouldn’t call it a “weakness”, I’d call it a !!!WeAkNeSs!!! (plus understroke, flashing colours, and the sound of a siren in the distance).

  10. I don’t comment much but I have to say that Stroll is one of the weakest F1 drivers I’ve seen have more than 1 year in F1. Plenty of 1 season duds have come and gone but Stroll got a multi-year deal because of his daddy’s money.

    Even if we assume he has talent and potential, he was brought to the top level of motorsport before he was ready. Cheapens the sport imo.

    1. Well just off the top of my head,
      Marcus Ericson.

      1. Ericsson is a prodigy compared to Stroll.

  11. Stroll needs to add couple of zeros in his f1 budget to keep the car advantage he had in f3.

  12. I got the impression Sirotkin will beat him as well this season. He’s got nowhere to hide now

  13. I really don’t like how Stroll said “Both of us were getting knocked out in Q1”. In reality, Massa got knocked out of Q1 on 3 occasions, while Lance got knocked out in 12 sessions. I understand that Lance is taking the onus of recognising his weaknesses, but at least state the facts when you’re making statements.

    It’s too bad that he’s going to be working on only his qualifying pace in 2018. Hopefully, he’ll work on his race craft in 2019. Then he’ll work on improving his feedback for car setups in 2020. By 2021, he might turn in to a half decent driver .. that is if his dad still keeps Williams on his payroll.

  14. On a scale of Stroll to Alonso, i genuinely feel Lance will finish his second year on Stroll.!!
    No more, no less.

  15. Stroll did not have a strong debut season, no. But there were moments of magic that a poor driver can not produce in a million years. So I have hopes. He seems like a nice kid. Most of you can’t see past the money but I wish him well.

    1. @shimks
      Nicely put. Agreed Strolls rookie season certainly did not impress on the whole, but he did have a couple of impressive moments last year that at least showed some promise.
      Now, with a year of experience under his belt, let’s hope he is able to improve & impress us a bit more this season.
      Like you said, he actually comes across as a nice kid but unfortunately there will always be those who just cannot see him as separate from his father’s billions. Best of luck to him for the 2018 season as I think he’s going need it.

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