Lance Stroll, Williams, Hockenheimring, 2018

Stroll says he’s ‘far from reaching his potential’

2018 F1 season

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Lance Stroll believes he still has a long way to go to realise his potential as he nears the end of his second full season in Formula 1.

The 19-year-old joined the sport straight from Formula Three last year and was often some way off the pace of his experienced team mate Felipe Massa, particularly in qualifying. Stroll says he has made progress since then but is still “far from reaching my potential as a driver.”

“I have so much to learn,” he said. “I gained so much experience every weekend, every time I get in the car, I just still feel like I’m learning. “So there’s definitely a lot more to come.

“At the same time when I reflect on where I was last year I think I’ve came a long way as a driver just with seat time and experience. And I’m still only 19 so I think there’s a lot more to come.”

Stroll says much of the progress he has made is being masked by the shortcomings of his FW41.

“Unfortunately it’s been a challenging year with the car and the team,” he said. “So I haven’t really been able to demonstrate that [progress] to a certain extent.

“But in many ways I think I have been a lot better in that area. I feel like I’m a lot more on top of the car. From a position point of view it doesn’t show that because of where we are as a team but I definitely do feel like I’m getting a lot more out of the car.

“I’m just much more on top of things on the race, in qualifying, strategically, my starts, all those aspects I believe that I have improved on all those aspects.

“I think now it’s just about carrying on improving on those details and building myself as a driver because racing, you never stop learning, just like in any sport there’s always something that can be improved and that’s what I’m working on everyday to improve myself in all areas.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 48 comments on “Stroll says he’s ‘far from reaching his potential’”

    1. He has only reached 10% of his true potential today. There are still 9 other teams to buy …

    2. Well, in the sense that Lance Stroll is the same species as a Lewis Hamilton or a Max Verstappen, yes, he’s far from reaching the potential that is theoretically there.

      1. I mean.. he has a whole lot lesser potential than any F1 driver on the grid, and seems farther off than anyone else in fulfilling that potential… but you’re right.. technically, he still falls in the Lewis and Max category.

        1. It’s hard to tell to be honest. He got soundly beaten by Massa last year, but that was his rookie year and it is hard to judge his or any improvement against Sirotkin. The truth will out next year when he goes up against a known quantity such as Perez.

          1. @asanator Bottas was convincingly faster than Massa in just his second season in F1. And this is the same guy who is being made consistently mediocre by the elites of F1. And in my opinion, 2014 Massa is better than 2017 Massa, so Stroll either will have an extremely high development curve of which he’s nowhere near his best, or he’s just not very good. I suspect the latter.

            1. Yes It is nonsense arguments like this that ultimately mean nothing, afterall, Bottas was fairly convincingly beaten by Pastor Maldonado in his first year if we look at race results where they both finished wasn’t he?

              Bottas improved in his second season so what is to say that Stroll hasn’t? There isn’t a clear baseline against which to judge him. The Williams car is clearly rubbish and it is difficult for either driver to shine at present.

              And in your opinion…..more of the same….

              All I’m saying is that perhaps we should wait until he has gone up against a known quantity before we start writing him, and any improvements he may have made, off.

          2. I agree with you there @asanator, with the pace of the Williams being so far down on the rest of the grid and against a rookie teammate it really is hard to judge how well (or not) Stroll is doing.

            I’d say that while we haven’t really seen anything like Monza 2017 form from him this year yet, he did deliver a few times in qualifying. And we’ve seen less embarressing rookie mistakes from him that what we saw even end of last year, pointing to him having probably matured a bit.

            Indeed, next year should give us a solid basis to gauge where he is against a Perez who has been pretty consistently at the front of the mid field for the last 3 years.

          3. @asanator

            To be honest Sirotkin his been more impressive than Lance this season. Sergei has out qualified him and been quicker than him on many racedays. Sergei also seems far more mature a racer and doesn’t have any major issues with with his driving ability like tyre delaminations, etc.

            I think it’s safe to say that since Monza 2017, Lance hasn’t improved a bit. His racing looked amateurish towards the end of last season and he’s been slower than a ‘pay driver’ rookie this season. He can blame the car and you might choose to ignore that you can still gauge a driver in poor machinery.. (Bianchi, leclerc are examples).

            I expect Perez to thrash him convincingly.. Also expect Sirotkin to beat him in most of the remaining races this year.

    3. He was put in F1 far too early. I don’t think he’s good enough but he would have been better prepared (even with all the additional help that he’s had) with a few more years in junior formulae.

      1. And it’s not as if he wasn’t alert to that potential mistake: “It’s important to complete every step properly and not take any shortcuts…”

        1. Kinda says it all really.

          Im of the opinion that the fault lies not in the fact that he was able to buy his way into F1, but with the FIA superlicence regulations. It seems that it’s too easy to get a superlicence and that perhaps the rules need to be tightened (maybe insist that drivers should compete at least 2 seasons in F2) and that they also need to review those superlicences with some kind of performance based criteria.

          That may have stopped Max from getting to F1 when he did but if he’d had to wait a couple of years, he still would have made it. Lance on the other had mightn’t have.

          Still – it’s been that way forever and is unlikely to change, so we’ll always have a couple of mobile chicanes in F1, whether it be a poor driver or a poor car or both.

          1. I think that in order to compete in F1, then drivers should have to go through F2 or an equivalent 2nd tier race level for at least 2 seasons, in order to obtain super licence points.

          2. But at least next year the moving chicane could go faster.

    4. Im also far from reaching my potential, anyone wanna buy me a F1 seat?

      1. Did you ask your dad?

        1. José Lopes da Silva
          24th September 2018, 17:13

          ‘Like’ both these comments

    5. Plenty of drivers are ready to show what they can do. This guy is damaging F1 with his ‘learnings’ and Liberty can’t pull the trigger on fairer prize money distribution which forces teams to sign guys like this.

      1. Indeed @ivan-vinitskyy
        Its almost like GP2 / GP3 were there to help drivers learn.
        It’s like if your dad’s money could make you a high court judge straight out of school, then go could learn about law on the job instead of going to university!

    6. Felt the need to insert a “stroll the whipping boy” article for easy engagement?

      You can do better…

      1. If we whipped him, would he go faster?

        1. +1, I can see some potential there

      2. The comment sections in racefans.net been drying up recently. This and the Ticktum article sure did attract quite a few comments.

      3. Tristan – Stroll made the comments – RaceFans is simply reporting the News…
        Difficult to find fault with the process… Unless you’re biased… ;)

    7. He was always going to get a seat with his wealthy father buying it out. Why not do more seasons in feeder series? he’s 19 and his reputation isn’t exactly bright. He could’ve done like 3 seasons in GP2 before stepping up and he’d still be 20!

      He rushed things up, F1 isn’t kindergarden.

      1. His only chance to get into f1 was to buy a seat from williams. His only chance in gp2 was to buy a team. Why spend tens of millions in gp2 when you can spend tens of millions in f1. Why buy a mustang when you can buy a ferrari? There is nothing wrong with mustangs but if you want a ferrari then buy a ferrari. Lance wanted to be f1 driver. Not gp2 driver.

        1. @socksolid

          Completely agree. He saw an opportunity with a financially distraught Williams and got his father’s wallet to buy himself a seat. I don’t think Lance really wants to win an F1 championship or anything like that.. He just wanted to be an F1 driver.. And he managed to buy his way through.

          It’s not like he mapped the best career path for him to succeed in F1.. He just wants to fulfil a childhood fantasy and get back to running his empire with Papa Stroll.

        2. I would have thought one spends money, and time, in F2 in order to be a better driver in F1…

    8. Everything points to the fact that Stroll has a lot of potential.

      His results in the junior formulas were very good, winning every championship he entered. Especially his second year in Formula 3 was stellar. Incidently, he beat George Russell, who seems to be quite highly rated, in both his years in Formula 3. I personally was initially sceptical of Stroll, he had some pretty stupid accidents in his first year of Formula 3, but he quickly matured. It was this change in his approach to racing which convinced me to watch his progress closer.

      His first year in Formula 1 was very good. One podium position and only 3 points short of Massa. What amazed me the most is that he almost had no incidents, for which he was responsible. Very clean driving, and that in spite of having to regularly pass a lot of cars, due to his bad qualifying. His qualifying problems, due to not making the most of his tires, is the only negative point I can come up with.

      You can’t really judge how Stroll is doing this year, because of the bad Williams. That is why I am really looking forward to seeing Stroll in the Racing Point next year. What I am worried about though is all the conspiracy theories which will inevitably appear, when Stroll does better than most people expect.

      1. Are you this guy’s kid brother…? lmao.

    9. @fer-no65 But it is like dropping out from university for many, next year if hes in a more competitive car he has to deliver, how long will Papa Stroll and the board at “Geddit India” keep him on if hes being a turtle?

      1. Interesting point actually.

        He’s not been put in the car this year because they need to maximise points. Will that become a factor if he’s consistently underperforming and costing them WCC points next year?

        FI’s success in terms of its multiple 4th places has been its ability to have both drivers consistently get good points and that end of the midfield is going to get awfully crowded next year. Having 2 great drivers could mean the difference between 5th and 10th and that has a huge financial impact, something the consortium may want to watch quite carefully unless they’re happy to burn cash just so someone can have a drive.

      2. @greg-c I didn’t mean he should go to gp2 now. I meant that he should’ve done a couple of seasons there before stepping up to f1

    10. I can’t believe he’s only 19. He’s too young to have made these decisions, should have stayed in lower formulae but no doubt pushed by his family. I almost feel sympathy for him.

      1. Good point actually there @john-h. I think we should feel for him a bit yeah. Reminds me of those pushy parents next to football pitches / tennis courts etc who “just want the best for their children” but in doing so don’t give them much chance either to enjoy themselves or to really develop at the best pace for their own good.

    11. Fikri Harish (@)
      24th September 2018, 10:29

      I mean, I’m pretty sure neither Verstappen, Ocon, Gasly and Leclerc have reached their full potential as well but they don’t suck nearly as much as you do, kiddo.

    12. ”I’ve came” – Are those actually his words or merely a typo in the article, LOL?

      1. He is Canadian. :)

    13. Potential says, it’s far from reaching Stroll.

    14. Urgh, he is such an unlikeable person. Every F1 driver needs a bit of arrogance, but his is just of the charts and not in line with his performance. And totally unrelated to his performance or personality, that lisp annoys me aswell.

    15. I have met Lance a few times, he isn’t unlikable he is actually a nice bloke. He may need to work with his PR officer a little as he needs to work on that a bit.

      Give him a few seasons and we will see how he goes.

      1. You are not serious… Are you?

    16. Lance is stating the obvious here. Nobody hits their full potential after 2 years of F1 unless their name is Jacques Villenueve, and I’m pretty sure Lance is hoping that his sophomore season is not as good as the ones that follow it given that he is mathematically not going to become world champion this year. Also, the Williams’ ceiling is clearly below that of either of its race drivers, so it will be difficult for either to demonstrate the full scope of what they are learning.

      Hopefully the impending promotion to a midfield team will allow Lance to prove his doubters (including me) wrong.

      1. He’s not being promoted in the customary manner. Daddy buys FI so Lance can drive a decent car and can’t be fired if he doesn’t perform. How will we know how good Lance is compared to his teammate, the only meaningful standard? Will Perez have team orders not to humiliate Lance?

      2. Ferrari are banking on Le-Clerc on delivering full potential !

    17. So Stroll can be potentially worse next year than he is now. Is that even possible? Would it not be easier for Daddy just go cut his losses and tell his son to face facts. He is not a race car driver. If Lance wants to be the most expensive chicane in history, his potentially is limitless.
      This really is embarrassing for this sport, bordering farcical.

    18. Please Lance, get a hat that fits and sunnies that suit your bonce ,

    Comments are closed.