Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Istanbul Park, 2020

Racing Point: Pitting Stroll from the lead was the “right call”

2020 Turkish Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Racing Point insist they made the right decision by pitting Lance Stroll from the lead during the Turkish Grand Prix, despite him subsequent slump to ninth place at the finish.

Stroll, who started from pole position, held the lead ahead of team mate Sergio Perez as the race passed half-distance. But he began to experience graining on his tyres and slowed, which allowed Perez to close on him.

Other drivers began to put Perez under pressure, and Perez warned the team Stroll was holding him up. After initially staying out, Stroll pitted for a fresh set of intermediate tyres.

But once back on the track, Stroll continued to slip backwards, and was passed by several of his rivals. He eventually finished ninth.

“It’s a shame Lance didn’t get the result he deserved,” said the team’s CEO Otmar Szafnauer. “He handled the pressure of starting on pole position very well. He was flawless today and carved out a lead of over 10 seconds, when his tyres worked as expected.

“It was tough to judge the conditions, but we made the right call to switch Lance to intermediates, rather than wait for slick conditions that ultimately never arrived. We need to look into why Lance struggled so much with graining on the new intermediates because that prevented him from joining Checo on the podium.”

Perez took the lead from Stroll but was passed by Lewis Hamilton. He briefly lost second place to Charles Leclerc on the final lap, but re-passed the Ferrari driver, and took the team’s best result of the season to date with second place.

“A podium is a great result for the team after an excellent drive by Checo,” said Szafnauer. “We can be very proud of the fact we led a significant amount of the race in very difficult conditions with both cars.

“As we’ve come to expect with Checo, he managed the wet tyre very well early on and the team timed his switch to intermediates perfectly. To manage the intermediate on a changing track surface for 48 laps was a huge challenge, but he managed it to secure second.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2020 F1 season

Browse all 2020 F1 season articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

13 comments on “Racing Point: Pitting Stroll from the lead was the “right call””

  1. No mention of the blunder the team had during Checo’s pit stop.

  2. Otmar is right; it was the right call, but not for someone who doesn’t have the experience and ability to manage his tyres. He ended up where his performance deserved, as he was really poor at the beginning of his second stint, and just went backwards. Others were suffering from tyre issues but I am not sure that anyone actually went backwards the way he did!

    1. Look at Danny Ric’s pace. He was doing 1.45s when Lance came out from the pits. Not sure if the issue was the same, but that stood out to me on Live Timing.

    2. I actually think that it was the right call exactly BECAUSE Stroll is not as versed with keeping the tyres alive as the tyre whisperer Perez or the top of the crop, Lewis Hamilton @paulsteward40.

      Yeah, good point also about @matthias-wlkp, I think that it’s a lot about how each car works their tyres differently and how that plays out at different stages of the race. Just look how the McLarens were able to cut through right towards the end after a slow start, while the likes of Ricciardo was strong earlier but did not get the tyres working well in the later stages.

      To be honest, I think the team should have pitted Stroll a lap or 2 earlier. I think there was actually a gap behind he could have dropped into and maybe would have had more time to get his new inters working.

  3. We still to see a good strategy team taking full potential of Perez tire management, RP strategy is hit or miss at best, but never something inspiring …

    Redbull has the best alternative strategists, hope we get to scratch our head with awe next year, on a red bull+perez mind blowing race strategies !

  4. Hindsight is a great thing: who would’ve guessed that the car/driver combination suddenly would not work on new inters while it had done so well previously in both race and qualifying?

  5. I don’t think Stroll could’ve made it to the end on the first set of inters due to the graining – pretty sure even he admitted that in his interviews. The only thing RP could have maybe done differently would be to put his 2nd set of inters on earlier, when the track was wetter. That might’ve helped that second set bed in and get up to temperature before the track got too far into the drying phase, which might’ve prevented the severe graining he had on that set. But that’s extreme captain hindsight strategic thinking.

    Other than that, Stroll maybe went too hard at the start of the race when he pulled out 5 seconds over Perez in the first couple of laps. I’m sure he’ll learn from this in future though.

    1. I agree there @keithedin, I think they should have stopped Stroll earlier, when he mentioned the tyres going bald and started losing time to the cars behind. He probably did take out tyre life while Hamilton and Perez were saving the tyres for later.

      I am sure Stroll will learn, but then, both Perez and Hamilton are amongst the best for getting good life out of tyres, so no shame not to be at their level with that right now.

  6. If Perez had got pole he might have had a chance to win. Stroll was holding him up while Hamilton was more than 20 seconds behind.

  7. The right call would be to retain Perez for next season instead of Stroll, who could become the reserve driver…it depends if RP want to become serious contenders

    1. RP exists to give Lance a permanent drive. No way will daddy demote him to reserve status.

  8. Unlucky to come out on a drying track or who knows what might have happened, but also very impressed by his first stint first time in the lead. The initial laps were exceptionally good and kept his cool throughout.

  9. Lewis and Perez were extremely lucky that it stayed dry enough AND wet enough with the tires they had in the end.
    A few more drops of rain, and they would also have needed a second stop. A bit dryer and their tires weren’t slicks anymore. Their gamble worked out, both being helped by / enforced to conserve their tires because traffic lowering their race speed earlier on. That being said, their driving is what made it possible at all, so hats off

Comments are closed.