Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Monza, 2020

Stroll admits poor restart cost him victory chance

2020 Italian Grand Prix

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Lance Stroll says a chance at taking his first career grand prix victory in the Italian Grand Prix “slipped away” from him after he lost second place to Pierre Gasly at the restart.

The Racing Point driver lined up second on the grid for the race’s standing restart following the red flag stoppage. But with leader Lewis Hamilton set to serve a 10-second stop-and-go penalty, Stroll was poised to take the lead.

However the Racing Point driver immediately lost his position to eventual race winner Pierre Gasly on the run to the Rettifilo chicane. Stroll admitted that cost him an opportunity to win.

“It’s a bit of a bummer,” says Stroll. “I think it was kind of mine to lose there, restarting from second. I just had no grip at the start and had a tonne of wheelspin and everyone flew by me.

“I’m happy to pick up third. I think the win slipped away from us today, but third is great.”

In a dramatic race that saw Pierre Gasly take a stunning first victory for AlphaTauri, Stroll was passed for second by Carlos Sainz’s McLaren, but was able to hold on to take the second podium of his career.

“It’s been a couple of years since I’ve been on the podium. It feels good to be back,” says Stroll. “I had a good scrap with Carlos there in the first couple of laps. I overtook him around the outside and then he got me again down to Turn One.

“It was such a crazy race. I’m so happy for Pierre. I think he really deserved it. He had a great restart and he just stayed consistent all the way throughout the race.

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2020 Italian Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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19 comments on “Stroll admits poor restart cost him victory chance”

  1. It didn’t slip away, the better driver got it.

    1. +1 Racing Point have the car to win on non-merc/redbull days.

  2. No suprise there

  3. I hope for the change of the pitstop rules, because Stroll practically got a free pitstop under the red flag. Really questionable.

    1. like everyone else?

      1. As Lando pointed out after the race, Stroll technically didn’t make his mandatory pit stop. That being said, I am so glad that Stroll bottled the start and the second chicane, I think I would have to give up on this sport if he had of won.

  4. Yeah, he binned it – the race was his to lose. He had arguably the stronger car of the top three and had a free pitstop, and yet still lost the position all by himself and couldn’t keep pace with Sainz or Gasly.

  5. P2 on the grid, so maybe that explains Bottas’ poor getaway on the original start. A case of a ‘missed opportunity’ nonetheless.

    1. @jerejj, both starts from P2 were poor this race. Maybe there is something to it.

      1. @paulk Indeed. That grid slot was cursed yesterday, LOL.

  6. After the restart, Lance Stroll had that massive lock up when he nearly hit one of the other drivers (I think it was Giovinazzi). Then he went off the track and rejoined in the same position. Obviously he didn’t gain an advantage because he was still in the same position after going off, but to me it seems unfair that he should be allowed to make a mistake like that and not be punished for it, because on the majority of corners that would either have been a crash or a slow limp back to the track on the gravel. To be honest, there isn’t really a suitable penalty so I would have to just put it down to luck that it happened at that corner. Just like how it was luck that he was in that position at all with the red flag. Stroll is clearly a much better driver this year than 2017-19, but he does seem to have so much good luck (like Germany 2019) and the gap to Perez really flatters him. In terms of actual performance this year, Perez has probably been slightly better than Stroll, but only by about 5-10 points.

    1. stewards this season has been really, really bad. This incident was dangerous, he came back at full speed like it was just a minor bump and it wasn’t even noted.

      And Norris slowing down for the double stack like Hamilton did in the past and got a penalty for it also went scot free.

  7. I’m not sure why so many people are upset by red flag free pitstops and yet the safety car also hands out the same kind of random advantages a lot more frequently albeit with less overall time gained? Surely, you should be against both types of lottery and not just the very rare one?

    1. @sebsronnie Because you can orchestrate a scenario, just like Renault did in Singapore 2008. It’s one of the reasons they binned the earlier rule that the pitlane would open for a single lap under the Safety Car, and if you pitted before that lap under the SC it would be an automatic stop/go penalty for you. That rule meant if you pitted just before an SC period, you would gain massively. Renault had already seen how it worked so effectively with Piquet at Hockenheim, where he finished 2nd because he took his only stop of the race before an unplanned SC, which is probably what gave them the idea in the first place. These days, if you try to pit early under green flag for an undercut, you lose when the SC comes out, it’s a conscious strategic risk that teams take, I think it’s very fair.

      Admittedly, orchestrating a red flag condition is harder to do than an SC, but not impossible.

  8. Man, this guy got such a lucky break today, was nowhere near Perez since Saturday, start was fine, probably would have finished at the tail of the top ten without all the stuff happening in the front. And he got such an advantage from the red flag, I really thought it would be his race to lose. And then he goes and makes a right mess of the standing restart. Wasn’t he the best lap 1 driver at one time?

    Not to mention that he failed to close in on Gasly and Sainz in front of him despite having tyres that were fresher.

    If anything, today showed the limits of what Lance will be able to achieve even when things go his way, as they often have this year.

    1. His other podium also came in similar circunstances, in a race that was red flagged.
      By sheer performance, he can’t do it. He evolved a lot, pulled a super move in Verstappen early in the race, but his pace is too ordinary to score a podium by itself.

  9. If the RPs were in the hands of better drivers, they would have had more podiums this year. RP makes Stroll look good, and not the other way around. The fact he blew his chance for a victory is just an illustration.

  10. again shows why peoples claims that gasly and alpha tauri win is lucky or how anyone can win a championship in that mercedes, are just nonsense. this man cant even win a race gifted to him with only half distance and no pit stops.

  11. Poor Stroll. He brought his car third and he’s 4th overall (where’s Perez by the way) and yet people complain he is not as fast as Verstappen or the race craft of other drivers. At the very least he is a very dependable journeyman. Like Hulk but more successful.

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