Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Sochi Autodrom, 2020

Stroll suffered ‘physical and mental battering’ during five-race point-less run

2020 F1 season

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Lance Stroll suffered a “battering” in and out of the car as he failed to score any points over the last five races, says Racing Point technical director Andrew Green.

Stroll has not added to his points tally since scoring the team’s only podium of the season so far in the Italian Grand Prix. He suffered a heavy crash due to a tyre failure at Mugello and was hit by Charles Leclerc on the first lap in Sochi.

He then sat out the Eifel Grand Prix due to illness, which was subsequently confirmed to by Covid-19. Stroll returned in the Portuguese Grand Prix, where he was involved in two collisions with rivals over the course of the weekend. Most recently at Imola he tangled with Esteban Ocon on the first lap, suffering damage and falling to the back of the field.

Stroll’s various setbacks had a cumulative effect on him, according to Green: “He’s obviously taken quite a battering, physically and mentally.

“It was quite a big accident in Mugello so I think that that probably dented his confidence. Then not to be fit for a couple of races, physically – we thought it would take it out of him, it would be difficult at the last race to jump back in and I think that was true.

“Now, mentally, he’s just not where he was a few races ago. I think he needs to get a couple of races under his belt, which is what he’s done now so we can start to move on and get him back on-track again.”

Both Racing Point drivers have contracted Covid-19 during the season – Sergio Perez missed two races in August. However Green admitted Stroll’s recovery has taken longer than the team expected. Stroll reported feeling unwell after the Russian Grand Prix, decided against driving in Germany two weeks later, and returned to racing two weeks after that.

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“Obviously he’s not where he was from Monza to where he is now,” said Green. “He’s definitely lost his confidence, which we’re going to have to work on with him over the next week or so, try and get it back again.

“The illness did knock it out of him, that’s something that we hadn’t really foreseen. We’d heard about the length of time it can take to recover from the illness and I think it is taking some time.

“I think he just needs to get that confidence back again and believe in himself again and we’ll get the the Lance back that we had for the first two thirds of the season.”

Stroll is currently 11th in the drivers championship, five places and 25 points behind team mate Perez. With Racing Point in a close battle for third place in the constructors championship, equal on points with McLaren and just one point behind Renault, the importance of Stroll recovering his earlier form is key.

Green said that the stresses of Formula 1 are so high that even a slight setback could knock a driver severely. “It is really, really fine margins, such fine margins here and if you’re not on top of the car and understanding where the tyres are and getting them in their sweet spot, you can be made to look like an idiot. You really can.

“We just need to get him back on-track. We can do that, we’ve got the tools, we’ve got the people. I think half of it probably just needs a bit of an arm around him and a bit of a hug and say, ‘come on, pull yourself together, let’s get on with it over the last few races and try to get back to third in the championship’.

“He’s more than capable of doing it. I just think it’s a bit tough on him at the moment.”

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2020 F1 season

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Author information

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...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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  • 40 comments on “Stroll suffered ‘physical and mental battering’ during five-race point-less run”

    1. I get it, he finished Monza on the podium, which is a high point, right?

      Not right. He lost a race win that day, and a second place. That’s not a high point by any measure, who would be pleased with losing a race win? He’s a middling driver in a car that is increasingly dropping down the order. So what has changed compared to other seasons where he also ran well behind his teammates netting an occasional good result due to retirements and penalties? As far as I can see, nothing much.

      Kid is an alright driver, he’ll continue to be an alright driver in the future. It’s time Racing Point came to terms with that and accept that these kinds of results will continue to occur in the future.

      1. Like half good qualities and half bad qualities about Lance?

      2. @aiii He only lost the win that day because of the usage of a standing restart instead of a more traditional rolling one, which unfairly penalized some drivers more than others in both Monza and Mugello by forcing them to start from less ideal grid slots.

        1. Sainz and Kimi started from the same unfavorable grid spots that day and gained places instead of losing any, but sure.

          Standing restarts are in the rules, the rules are the same for everyone. Lance messed up his start massively, way more than any “unfavorable” place could account for. That’s on him.

          1. Actually didn’t he also get to change tyres under the red flag so he was actually in even better position to win the race than anyone else? Or am I remembering that wrong.

            Like either way he totally had a win in his hands there and binned it all by himself. He’s been consistently average throughout his entire time in F1 – it baffles me how there are actually great drivers on and off the grid struggling to find drives and this guy literally has a seat for as long as he wants it and has barely improved at all. People talk about him like he’s a rookie but he’s really not by this point. He should be much better than he is and doesn’t get half the flak other drivers with less support, less backing and less experience do.

            1. @rocketpanda Everyone could change tyres under the red flag if they wanted to, but Lance was the only driver who hadn’t pitted beforehand and was still on his starting tyres, so he benefitted the most from it. Not pitting under the preceding safety car was a nonsensical strategy that would have left him dead last (or close to it) unless exactly a red flag occurred within the next 5 laps or so – which of course is exactly what happened. That put him in prime position to win the race, but he had a horrible restart and was he lucky in the end to at least salvage a podium.

        2. someone or something
          6th November 2020, 16:56

          @jerejj
          There you are, repeating the same point you insisted you weren’t making, after I presented a bunch of facts that made it look silly.

          Short memory much?

          1. @someone or something No, but I still feel that a rolling start further into a race is fairer to everyone than a standing one that brings more randomness to the game.
            @keithedin @rocketpanda
            Yes, in Monza he benefitted the most from the rules allowing tyre changes during a red-flag stoppage, and changing tyres is something that should remain allowed even if Norris (and Russell in Mugello) don’t or didn’t like it. Banning tyre changes during an in-race stoppage wouldn’t be for the good from the perspective of safety and sporting equity as it’d unfairly penalize drivers with a flat-spotted set and or a very worn one, and even put them at unnecessary risk of a sudden tyre failure at speed. They should’ve thought more thoroughly before suggesting as I doubt they’d like to be in this type of situation themselves any more than any other driver. One of many ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ type of matters in F1.

            1. @jerejj just change the rules to insist on any tyre changes to be a like for like compound on the car at the time of the red flag. Simples.

    2. Seems like the perfect #2 driver to boost Sebs confidence.

      1. Yup just like kimi was perfect a driver past his prime except stroll is in his prime and still slow. No wonder vettel wants stroll as his teammate and when he beats stroll vettel fans will be like look how good vettel is

        1. Vettel will need to be atleast a shadow of his former self.

    3. “Diamonds are made under pressure”

    4. i would like to know this guy’s true opinion about Stroll one day.
      A driver that after 4 seasons and dozens of private tests still does not know how to read and use certain functions on the steering wheel.

      1. @Edvaldo How does he use functions on the steering wheel incorrectly? I haven’t noticed something like this from his onboard anymore than with other drivers.

        1. there was a radio exchange in silverstone in which he was pressing the wrong button and not deploying the energy. and couldn’t tell if the batteries were charged either. the engineer told him.

    5. Having Hülkenberg get in the car with about an hour’s notice and delivering the performance he did can’t be helping Stroll’s confidence.

    6. Stroll had a pretty decent season up to his Mugello high speed crash, where he wasn’t attended by medics, after what seemed a painful exit of the car (2 full minutes by the onboard camera, noting his race engineer asked him if he was okay a full minute after the crash)

      Mentally: poor consecutive results, a teammate praised by teams who need Mexican pesos and points, the casual fan hate… Hard times for a kid.

      I quite like his personality, never accuses anyone and a quiet and reserved person.

    7. I think I’m more interested in how Perez feels

    8. He’s had everything his fathers billions could buy for him. He’s had private tests, coaching from Juan Pablo Montoya among numerous other things that we common folk can only guess at, and he still can’t cut it. I’d love to know what the other drivers really think of this kid. My prediction is that all daddies horses and all daddies men will never put Lancie together again.

    9. I find it funny how there were people here saying stroll was beating perez this season. What races were they watching

    10. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
      6th November 2020, 21:14

      Can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

      Seriously, what kind of top guy within a team defends their driver because they did a big boohoo. No matter how much money daddy Stroll puts into the team, at least have some dignity man.

      1. +1 they will become clowns trying to defend Stroll and unable to express their real thoughts because daddy.

    11. Lance’s dad should buy the Augusta golf course and pay Tiger to coach Lance to a Master’s title. He’d have a much better chance of that happening than winning a grand prix.

    12. I too suffered watching him race. Jokes aside, seat time is undervalued.

    13. How much arrogance must one person have to believe you deserve a fully paid up F1 seat AND have your dad as your boss! Talk about entitled.

    14. Ah, the problems of the 1%. I can totally empathize ….

    15. Well a more reliable plan to regain third place in Constructors is focusing on extracting Perez skills, in strategy and delivering him with updates. Which btw now seems will be late or non existent, specially if Lance is not on the priority seat and due his crashes requiring parts fixing, as this could make it not possible to factory focus in making TWO new upgraded sets. Realize just one set only for Perez will not help Stroll mental confidence, not even with more arms around him and soft talks, so a big no no. Even that didn’t bother Perez confidence after his Covid.

      RP Constructors Championship points have been won by :
      61.2% Perez
      31.4% Stroll
      7.4% Hulk

      Another quick fix is to call Hulk again to replace Stroll, unlikely as even if that gets them 3rd in Constructors, Stroll brings much more money prize than third place, independently of Constructors place, so maybe I’m wrong and RP must take good care of Stroll and I will shut up now.

    16. That’s fine … thank God they have another driver who can score and cover daddy’s boy messup … oh, wait …

    17. Even Perez loss of 2 races put him behind according to the team principal Safnauer, so no wonder all this mess and a big crash would do the same to Stroll. It’s also well known in sports that trying to overachieve due to being behind can produce the opposite results. Especially for Lance who knows he’s derided and more than eager to prove a point. The Portuguese incidents with Verstappen and especially Norris proved the frustration.

    18. Never seen so much unwarranted hate for someone in these comments. Blows my mind. He was doing very well up until Mugello. Now I’m not saying he’s better than Perez, or one of the best drivers on the grid, but seriously, cut him some slack. Aside from Portugal, which was definitely his fault, his recent run of poor form has been largely out of his control. Remember, he was 4th after Monza….

      I can only imagine the criticism if it was he who crashed behind the SC, but like Grosjean, he isn’t one of the golden boys so wouldn’t be cut any slack.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        7th November 2020, 15:43

        @hsvdt15 it’s actually warranted as the team is keeping Lance and getting rid of Perez. From what I’ve seen of Lance he doesn’t seem like a bad young man and obviously he has been privileged in ways others can only dream. I suspect that Lance’s performance might be related to the fact that even Lance doesn’t believe that Perez deserves to be dropped and it’s affecting his races by unsettling him. I think he wants to prove to the world that he’s his own man, not just the son of a billionaire, and that he has earned his place but he hasn’t really done that and it’s hard to have the clearest mind when you’re conflicted.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          7th November 2020, 15:54

          As any parent whose kids like sports and compete at any level, the sport becomes a thing that binds the child and parent. We saw how Lewis and his dad had to go through a separation to allow Lewis to grow. We know that Keke would watch his son race from the crowd. We saw how Sainz sr is trying to let Carlos forge his own path in F1. It’s time for Lawrence to let Lance do things on his own. Like any driver, Lance’s spot at Racing Point next season needs to be completely earned on merit. He will never be a top driver with training wheels on. Lance needs to be his own man and if that means having to race in LMP or Indycar down the road the so be it.

      2. The son of a multi-billionaire whose daddy bought an entire F1 team so he could have the best toy on the planet, and he’s not one of the ‘golden boys’? Maybe to qualify as a ‘golden boy’ you need a modicum of talent, ya think?

      3. Jose Lopes da Silva
        8th November 2020, 10:52

        he isn’t one of the golden boys so wouldn’t be cut any slack.”
        He wouldn’t be sacked?
        Of course not. He owns the team. Unlike Grosjean, Russell and F1 drivers.

    19. would love to see stroll racing on a team like haas. A five race streak out of the points would cause very different reactions.

    20. It’s interesting that Andrew Green is bringing up Long Covid as a possible reason for the slump. I had wondered if that was a factor.

    21. Racing Point seem to love speaking to the press about how Lance is going to turn things round soon. It’s almost as if someone he knows is high up in the team. Oh…wait, that is the case isn’t it…

    22. I have bo problem with Stroll being the sun of a billionaire, couldn’t care less and neither would most of us if he was fast. However, he is unfortunately painfully slow!

      He is excellent at starts and where he is on a strategy where he does not need to overtake, but merely follow the pit strateg, he does an okay job.

      However his qualifying is very vary poor and his racecraft leaves a lot to be desired also.

      Honestly I would say the misfortunes of Perez and Stroll this season have been about the same, stroll out for one race and a few unfortunate crashes and tangles, Perez out for 2, the odd spin, and two or three races without the upgrade package. But its clear to see one driver is significantly better than the other.

      1. No* Son*

        Apologies for the typos

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