Team mate battles 2019: The final score – Perez vs Stroll

2019 F1 season review

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Over the past two seasons the contest between Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon at the team now known as Racing Point Has been riveting.

The steadily improving Ocon turned the tables on Perez in terms of one-lap pace last year. But Perez’s greater experience continued to tell and he out-scored his young team mate for the second year running. And the pair had a few destructive collisions on the way.

But for 2019 Ocon was shown the door and replaced with Lance Stroll. The prospects of any further intra-team collisions diminished immediately, as Stroll was seldom close enough to Perez for it to be a possibility.

Stroll’s one-lap pace has consistently been a weakness and so it remained in 2019. He only out-qualified Perez on two occasions, and one of those was at Circuit of the Americas where Perez had a grid penalty and did not set a representative time. Stroll went out in Q1 14 times – the most of anyone who did not have to drive a Williams.

As was the case in his previous two seasons, Stroll made a lot of ground at the start of races. But it’s hard not to see a connection between this, his consistently poor qualifying performances, and the strength of the Mercedes power unit. Stroll gained a total of 40 places on lap one over the course of the season but Perez was next-best, picking up a total of 30 spots.

Perez finish ‘best of the rest’ in Azerbaijan, Belgium, Mexico and Abu Dhabi, something his team mate failed to anywhere near all season. However Stroll did record the highest finish for the team in Germany following a late gamble to switch to slicks on a drying track.

Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Hockenheimring, 2019
Stroll scored the team’s highest finish in Germany
While this was a fortuitous move (and he lost a podium place to Daniil Kvyat), he was at least still on track to take advantage of the opportunity, something which could not be said for Perez, who crashed out earlier in the race. Nonetheless, this one result accounts for more than half of Stroll’s points tally, which was far short of what his team mate achieved.

Following the summer break, Stroll scored just three points to his team mate’s 33. While Perez was up among the Renaults in the final points standings, Stroll languished at the bottom of the midfield.

Perez was rewarded for his consistently strong pace with a three-year contract, making him one of the only drivers who has a contract past 2020. Despite his performances, Stroll’s place at the team is likely to go unchallenged as long as he retains the backing of his father, team owner Lawrence Stroll. But as the senior Stroll continues to invest in building up this team, there may come a point when he can no longer ignore the need for an upgrade in its driver line-up.

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Sergio Perez vs Lance Stroll: Key stats

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Sergio Perez vs Lance Stroll: Who finished ahead at each round

Sergio PerezQ
Lance StrollQ

Sergio Perez vs Lance Stroll: Qualifying gap

Times based on the last qualifying round at each race weekend in which both drivers set a time. Negative indicates Sergio Perez was faster, positive means Lance Stroll was faster

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Author information

Josh Holland
USA-based Josh joined the RaceFans team in 2018. Josh helps produce our Formula 1 race weekend coverage, assists with our social media activities and...
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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27 comments on “Team mate battles 2019: The final score – Perez vs Stroll”

  1. But as the senior Stroll continues to invest in building up this team, there may come a point when he can no longer ignore the need for an upgrade in its driver line-up.

    This could very well go the other way, to be honest. Stroll Sr. can always say that his son is entitled to a seat given the capex he spent & continues to spend. Also, by spending on such facilities, that ensures the car improves and makes Stroll’s performances also improve (relative to the field, even if not his teammate). Stroll Sr. is indulging his son’s hobby, his #1 goal is not a title.

    I’m not going to complain about that, though, if it keeps a staff employed, and a team and a driver on the grid.

    However Stroll did record the highest finish for the team in Germany following a late gamble to switch to slicks on a drying track.

    LOL, that race was quite an upset for a few drivers who were otherwise besting their teammates – Perez, Russell and Leclerc all come to mind.

    1. Infact, if Lawrence is a smart businessman, he’ll give Lance borrowed time to get better. The huge investment won’t make sense if his son’s inability is costing the team millions because of not supporting Perez in finishing in the points & finishing lower in the WCC table. It’s clear as daylight to anyone (including Lawrence) Lance’s inability is what made the Racing Point team finish behind Toro Rosso.

    2. Stroll Sr. is not just spending his own money though, he’s spending the money of a consortium of investors. It remains to be seen if those other investors will keep putting up with a subpar driver in the team just to please Lawrence.

      That being said, Lance seems to be genuinely good at first laps. I don’t think the car and the starting position alone explain that.

      1. He also seems to have more than his fair share of very poor first laps that involve wiping other drivers and himself out of the race. Again this a consequence of qualifying badly, but who’s to blame for that?

        1. @frood19, you say that Stroll “more than his fair share of very poor first laps that involve wiping other drivers and himself out of the race”, but in fact Stroll has only retired twice on the opening lap of a race – the 2017 Chinese GP and the 2018 Canadian GP. When you look at the number of times he has retired on the first lap due to a collision, he’s had one first lap retirement for every 31 races so far in his career (2 in 62 races).

          As something of a comparison, Leclerc and Verstappen are currently averaging one first lap per 25 races and per 35 races respectively, whilst Hulkenberg averaged one first lap crash every 19 races (he had ten in the 193 races that he competed in). Stroll’s first lap retirement rate isn’t that high in reality – it’s pretty average.

    3. Indulging your sons hobby is putting up a basketball hoop in your driveway… the strolls are doing a liiiiittle more than that.

      And perhaps stroll sr enjoys team building? I love how you (and many others) pretend to know exactly why he’s doing what he does, goals and all..

      There’s no reason to speak for people.

    4. @phylyp: “Stroll Sr. can always say that his son is entitled to a seat given the capex he spent & continues to spend.”

      Yes, that’s the raw power of nepotism on wheels. It is sad the one thing Stroll Sr (possibly Jr.) wants that not even money can buy. Talent.

      After millions spent on the finest racing tutors and driver coaching, Lance’s performance still rates a C-.

      Maybe when Stroll Jr takes over the family fortune, he could invest in genetic engineering, so that his children might be born with the spatial awareness and finesse to control a racing car at the limit. Then have his kids raised by the Verstappens.

    5. What I’m worried about is when the team is going to start giving stroll advantages over his teammates

  2. Oh dear. I thought Stroll was beaten quite clearly, but the statistic show just by how much. But I suppose the team has calculated how much quicker the car is as it can be developed and built with the Stroll-money versus how much quicker another driver might be.

    1. @kaiie Surprisingly, not as being bad as how Kubica beaten by Russell.

      1. Well Kubica’s got 100% of Williams points so he is actually the top driver this year in this statistic ;)

  3. By continuing with Stroll as a driver, the team are actively disadvantaging themselves. Racing point finished 12 points behind Torro Rosso and 18 points behind Renault. I think a stronger 2nd driver could have boosted the team up the rankings.

    1. @emu55 – which would give them a little more prize money, money that Stroll senior is anyway seemingly willing to put in from his side (and that of the consortium) instead. Also, would we be brave enough to tell the boss that we ought to kick his son out and replace him with a better driver? Especially with job cuts looming in the face of the 2021 financial regs? :)

      It would be fun getting Otmar drunk and have him spill the beans on what he really thinks about the driver arrangements in the team. Dieter… would you please oblige? :)

      1. I think Stroll Sr. is a shrewd businessman. For the amounts that he was investing in the private tutoring before race weekends for Lance to get to terms with tracks, that same money can be used to benefit both his team and his driver. Of course there is a timetable set for junior to make a return on the investments, there will be a time when his working hours are going to be more valuable in an executive position instead of an operational one.

        1. Don’t forget that Lawrence could have given Ocon the boot and had Lance driving for Racing Point, but he waited until the end of the season before letting Esteban go. There were also claims the RP19 was originally “cost compromised” in its design, so maybe the senior management weren’t expecting a lot from the car. If so, then what does it matter if their “Number One” driver is less than optimal? I’m pretty sure heads will roll at Racing Point if the RP20 isn’t a big improvement on the RP19.

      2. I don’t think Racing Point are anywhere near the budget cap so they don’t need to worry about cutting staff for 2021. I do agree about Otmar though, would be hilarious!

        1. You’re right that RP are well away from the budget cap, but let me clarify how the 2021 cuts can still impact their current staff.

          There’s a certain level of talent RP can hire with the pay they can offer. There’s a higher level of talent Mercedes/RBR can hire, with their deeper pockets.

          With the budget cap upon us, the big teams will trim staff, and they take that knowledge and experience with them. Those laid off staff will be willing to settle for an RP-level paycheque (vs. no pay at all), especially since they can trade on their experience. And in turn, RP and other teams might chose to let go of some of their existing staff to be able to afford these new staff. Under such a threat, the current RP staff will be working to ensure that they aren’t picked for replacement, and not taking any career-suicidal steps like suggesting firing the boss’ son.

    2. Maybe you are right, and that would have been good from a sportsman perspective. But F1 competition is a multi-million-dollar business, and that unfortunately gives little room for gambling if there is a safer option. By accepting money straight from the owner, or by direct sponsorship, you get instant security in terms of continued business. In fact, without it Force India would have probably disappeared rather then become Racing Point. If taking on a better driver meant loosing a big chunk of that instant cash security, things would go backwards very quickly. Remember that a good team result takes a year to achieve and only pays off during the following year, which in turn means the real benefit from it goes into the car of the year after that. If you need results NOW, money is more efficient than a better driver (as long as you have an ok base to stand on, which I think Racing Point does). Anyway, many drivers deserve the seat occupied by Stroll better, but I see why things are the way they are.

    3. Without stroll, they probably wouldn’t even be racing this season, so it really doesn’t matter how fast they’d be in some hypothetical. People at the team probably know this.

      People let this stroll stuff get between themselves and logic.

    4. What a yoke it will be if they take Vettel in place of Perez rather than Stroll..

  4. Stroll Sr. has the capital to get Verstappen for 2021. Imagine that! :O)

    1. What do you think Verstappen wants the most, money for his sim-rig or a winning car?

  5. When Mr.Stroll (senior) buys Aston Martin and really wishes the team to be in the top 3, then he will get rid of that meaty ballast they are using in a second car along Perez.

  6. One race that should be remembered for Stroll was the only one he looked to be better than Perez, even when Perez himself had a clean race. That was brazil. Stroll overtook Perez on merit and stayed ahead the whole time (other than if pit stops resulted in them switching briefly). Stroll was 2 positions ahead and then at the restart soon had something wrong with his suspension and had to retire. He’s shown on race day he can sometimes be close and very occationally do better than Perez. He just has a major weakness in qualifying. I think the sentence mentioning that his starts are good partly todo with being aided by the mercedes engine is not really that true. This car has never been that good this year and Ferrari is a quicker engine IMO and I think even Honda is possibly matched to Mercedes now speed wise. I think it is only renault lagging behind. Though Mclaren have some great packege. I think Stroll still is pretty good at starts, and that is down to him more than the engine to me. But he still doesn’t make up for just how bad he is in qualifying.

    I still think Stroll is getting a little better than when he was first in F1 and may have a chance to improve yet more as he will still be here.

  7. The result is just like everyone pretty much expected I think. I don’t think anybody was expecting stroll to be much closer than this?

  8. if one seat equals a few hundred jobs, i think that’s a good deal. let’s leave it at that. same at williams. if that helps them get ahead on the grid w/the other driver then so be it.

  9. I think that one particular trait that is not well represented in these statistics is how good Perez became at defending. I agree that Stroll is a genuinely quick driver in the first part of the race, and that it can’t be down to just the engine, he’s got a nose for openings in tight spaces and the reactions to go with it.

    However, many of the places he made up at the line, Stroll lost as the stint wore on. This didn’t happen to Perez, he managed his (tires?, engine? brakes?) well enough to have something left for when the time came. And that amounts to the difference in productivity. The #11 car was frequently fighting for points up against Hulk, Sainz, Norris and Kvyat in the latter stages of a race, whereas Stroll lingered about in 12th or 13th.

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