Did Stroll’s Turkish GP performance end the “pay driver” debate?

2020 Turkish Grand Prix

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Lance Stroll’s performance in the Turkish Grand Prix weekend was undoubtedly the most noteworthy of his 75-race career so far.

But will it do anything to convince the 22-year-old’s doubters of his ability? For many, Stroll has not shaken off the ‘pay driver’ tag applied following his money-no-object ascent into Formula 1 three years ago.

Stroll’s father, fashion billionaire Lawrence Stroll, ensured his son wanted for nothing in his ascent through the junior ranks. He joined Ferrari’s junior driver programme at the age of 11. His graduation to single-seaters came with top outfit Prema, who became an even stronger force in single-seater racing with Stroll’s investment.

The criticism has only grown since Stroll’s takeover of Force India, now Racing Point, soon to become Aston Martin since his subsequent purchase of the carmaker. When Sebastian Vettel appeared on the driver market there was no question whether Stroll would keep his son over the team’s long-serving driver Sergio Perez, who is currently in his sixth consecutive year as their top points scorer. As things stand, Perez will be unemployed after next month’s Abu Dhabi season finale.

But for those seeking either to write Stroll Jnr off as a talentless rich kid, or hail him as Canada’s next Jacques Villeneuve, his F1 career to date does not offer easy interpretation.

Stroll’s father Lawrence bankrolled his junior career
Is he grossly out of his depth in Formula 1? Clearly not. Stroll isn’t a serial crasher (the hair-raising days of 2015 are behind him) and he’s not wildly off the pace.

Is he a star of the future? It’s hard to make that case too.

Upcoming junior talents tend to make themselves known by consistently troubling their more experienced team mates, and bagging spectacular results when opportunities present themselves. But Stroll was rarely on terms with Felipe Massa in his debut season, didn’t really outshine rookie Sergey Sirotkin, and Perez has had little difficulty out-scoring him in their two years together.

Yet there is no denying there are days when Stroll produces results which make you sit up and take notice. That podium finish at Baku in 2017. Second on the grid (fourth in qualifying) at a rain-lashed Monza the same year.

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Last year he scored Force India’s single best result of the season in another wet race, at the Nurburgring. And then there was last weekend.

Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Istanbul Park, 2020
Strll’s pole was confirmed after stewards’ investigation
For 32 laps of the Turkish Grand Prix, Stroll looked on course for a stunning breakthrough win. However his victory hopes were dashed after making a second pit which dropped him into the middle of the field.

Any analysis of last weekend’s race at Istanbul has to start with the extreme, probably unique conditions the race was held in. The recently resurfaced track was slippery enough to begin with, and then it rained.

Car and tyre performance became incredibly volatile. Pirelli’s tyres are known to be highly temperature-sensitive at the best of times. In these exceptional circumstances different chassis extracted the best from their tyres at different grip levels..

The gaps between teams were therefore measured in seconds instead of tenths. There is no better illustration of this than world champions Mercedes, who having taken pole position at every previous round, were 4.7 seconds off the pace last Saturday.

Ordinarily this year only the two black cars have been in contention for pole position, plus occasionally Max Verstappen’s Red Bull. Last Saturday Verstappen was fighting two pink cars. Perez was the first of the Racing Point drivers to try intermediates, and when it became clear the RP20 could conjure more out of those tyres than their rivals, Stroll followed him.

With the track drying, and Perez’s final lap spoiled by Antonio Giovinazzi, Stroll had a superb opportunity to claim pole position, and he took it. Whether Perez might have beaten him is a matter for conjecture, though Stroll should count himself fortunate that his lap was allowed to stand despite setting a personal best mini-sector as he passed yellow flags.

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So the race started, in similar conditions to the beginning of Q3, with Stroll on pole position and Verstappen alongside. When the lights went out the Red Bull driver floundered off the racing line, where there was somehow even less grip, allowing Perez into second. The Racing Points ran one-two (first pit stops aside) and Stroll was over 10 seconds ahead by lap 18.

Start, Istanbul Park, 2020
On a soaked, slippery track, Stroll pulled away from the pack
It was at this point that, according to the team, Stroll suffered damage to a strake on the underside of his front wing which caused a “significant loss of front downforce”. His lap times briefly jumped by one-and-a-half seconds, then started to fall again.

The team identified the loss of performance. “You’re dropping a bit of lap time now, Lance,” his race engineer Brad Joyce pointed out. “No, it’s OK, it’s me,” Stroll replied.

A few laps before his loss of pace Stroll had been told to use the wetter patches of the track to stop his tyres overheating. Now Joyce advised him: “Don’t bother cooling tyres, it looks like that’s slowing you up a bit.”

“I’m picking up a lot of understeer,” Stroll added, consistent with the problem Racing Point later described. “Just keep pushing to maintain temperature,” Joyce advised, “don’t do any more cooling”.

Having weathered this sudden loss of performance, Stroll’s lap times subsequently stabilised. From laps 24 to 32 he held the lead over his team mate at slightly more than three seconds. Whatever had gone wrong with his front wing, at this stage in the race it wasn’t costing him any time to Perez.

But on lap 33 Perez suddenly increased his pace, finding almost nine-tenths of a second, latching onto the tail of his team mate. “I’m struggling,” said Stroll when told of Perez’s gain, “I can’t go quicker.”

Racing Point did not order Perez to hold position, but he pointed out he was losing time behind his team mate. By now Lewis Hamilton was catching Perez quickly, and Racing Point couldn’t let him to lose more time behind Stroll. Even so, they took two laps to bring Stroll in:

33To Stroll:So we can go inter this lap if you think it’s going to be inter, not get dry, but…
33Stroll:Yeah I don’t know. I think it’s going to be dry soon. But I don’t know, Brad, it’s really tricky right now.
34Stroll:This is bad, we need to do something.
34To Stroll:Torque 10.
34To Stroll:Box box.
34Stroll:Are you sure?
34To Stroll:We’re going to inter, Lance, we’re going to put another set of inters on. How’s the aero balance, what do you want?
34Stroll:Why are we doing that? Why, why, why?
34To Stroll:OK, stay out then, stay out.
35To Stroll:Lance we think we should box this lap for a new inter.
35Stroll:OK, it’s your call.
35To Stroll:How about aero balance?
35Stroll:It feels OK.
35Stroll:Who is behind Sergio?
35To Stroll:Hamilton. That’s the only car you’ll lose to. But you’ll [unclear] the pace
35Stroll:OK. Do we think the others will have to stop?
35To Stroll:Everyone else has stopped. Box this lap.

While this conversation was going on Perez lost over five seconds to Hamilton. On the lap after Stroll pitted, the Mercedes breezed past him into a lead he never lost.

Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Istanbul Park, 2020
Stroll lost more places after pit stop
Back on track with fresh rubber, but with traffic ahead of him, Stroll discovered to his dismay that his lap times were even slower on new tyres than they had been before. They eventually improved, to the point that he was able to lap quicker than Perez was doing on his much older tyres, but by then the damage was done, and he’d fallen to ninth place.

Whatever the caveats about the vagaries of car performance last weekend, to take pole position and lead the race as comfortably as Stroll did in conditions that wretched show genuine ability.

But his wing damage may have been only one of the factors at work in the increased tyre graining he experienced. His higher pace immediately at the start of the stints, and the (quickly-reversed) decision to cool his tyres by going off-line may have contributed. It’s not unheard of for two drivers within the same team to experience very different tyre performance, as was the case at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, when Stroll’s team mate Nico Hulkenberg had to had to make an extra pit stop late in the race.

Istanbul was another reminder of Stroll’s ability to produce unexpected performances, particularly when grip conditions were low. This we’ve seen before, so even if he had won the race, it might have have drastically changed many people’s opinions of him.

What Stroll still needs to show is that he can regularly out-perform his team mate in ordinary conditions the majority of the time. If he is able to do that alongside a driver of Vettel’s calibre next year, that may start to win over his doubters.

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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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141 comments on “Did Stroll’s Turkish GP performance end the “pay driver” debate?”

  1. What more does he need to do to persuade his doubters?

    Letting me drive his car will do.

    1. Well, he could do better than finishing 8th or whatever… Why do you (the author of the text) underestimate us? This is one race, and the race where he failed in the end for this or that reason. One good race in ten doesn’t make him a hero, it makes him less-than-average race driver, at least in F1 terms.

  2. 35 To Stroll: How about aero balance?
    35 Stroll: It feels OK.

    Yet RP come out after and say it was front-wing damage that caused his issues.

    This does not bring an end to the pay driver debate at all, especially not when we see Perez still without a seat next year.

    1. Exactly just look at were perez finished and were stroll finished. And stroll only beat perez because got blocked in qualy

    2. Sorry, forgot you know better than the team itself.

      1. The team is owned by Stroll himself

  3. I do wonder if the track was getting too dry for his new inters not to grain in the first place. If he’d pitted 4-5 laps sooner, with the track a bit damper, maybe his inters tread would have worn down more without the graining and he wouldn’t have lost as much time. “Slicktermediate” seemed to be the tyre choice of the day. Hard to know.

    Either way, it was an impressive drive for the most part. Still don’t rate him more than solid midfield though.

    1. @mouse_nightshirt That’s my thought too. Combined with the wing damage and impatience, it was bad luck as much as over driving.

      But totally agree the pay driver tag has to come off. 2 podiums and a pole positions in a midfield car at that age is good in anybody’s book. I especially liked the first stint from pole position.

      1. @balue
        I agree that Lance is not talent less and has shown he has the ability to be in F1. With that said, I could think of other more worthy and talented individuals that should have a seat over him. I also do not believe the debate about pay drivers are completely over tbh. Strolls 2 podiums and pole positions all happened because of strange circumstances or lucked out because of red flags/SCs/odd weather events. Until he can produce a strong performance in normal circumstances… my judgement will still be out on him.

        1. I never thought of this before, but you are right, we don’t need to speculate on talent and capability!

          The Strolls have done us fans a great service, and made it easy to deduce someone’s ability to be in F1.

          Babby’s “ability to be in F1” can easily be seen in Papa’s bank statement.

  4. His family has so much money, and invests so much of it for him to be a professional driver, that some good would have to come out of it sooner or later. Since his first season, he’s done a variety of private testings on older F1 cars or GP2/F2 cars to learn the tracks in anticipation of a race. He did that this year at Portugal and San Marino at least, so, he is not a pay driver, he is the epitome of a pay driver. He is no Pedro Diniz who paid to drive and little else, he has much more investment than that.

    And still, he is no match for Perez or Hulkenberg and would hardly keep the seat if he wasn’t related to the owner of the operation.

    He has shown some quality on wet surfaces, though. But those only happen twice a year. On regular conditions i wouldn’t be surprised if he is the slowest driver on the grid even after all these additional mileage his money can buy.

    1. This is exactly the reason why, even though Stroll has proven to be a capable pair of hands, and truly quick and consistent on occasions, I personally can’t stop disliking the guy. It’s more than just a pay driver who brings money to a team and gets himself a seat that way.
      Stroll began his very early entry into F1 by not just paying a team but also by scheduling (via his very wealthy family, of course) a variety of tests with the team’s previous cars on a variety of circuits, that only just showed how much he was still not ready for F1. Formula 1 is the pinnacle, and you only go there after learning how to race. You don’t enter F1 and in the meantime complete your training, and this is the big difference with other pay drivers. It’s all ifs and buts but had he not purchased that extra training, we would be looking at very different performances, more likely to those pay drivers that wander around for a couple of years and are then pushed out due to the lack of results.

      On the other hand, and all that being said, I wonder what would have been of Racing Point and all the people working for the team had Stroll Sr. not acquired the team. It is also a possibility that the presence of Lance in F1 is giving us the chance of having 10 teams instead of 9, and all those people in the team a steady job.

      1. But that has also unfortunately meant we have to put up with “crack a tantrum unless I get favourable treatment” Vettel. With Stroll, for the first time in his career Vettel will be faster than his teammate without needing No.1 treatment.

      2. Jose Lopes da Silva
        17th November 2020, 18:32

        “I wonder what would have been of Racing Point and all the people working for the team had Stroll Sr. not acquired the team. It is also a possibility that the presence of Lance in F1 is giving us the chance of having 10 teams instead of 9, and all those people in the team a steady job.”

        Even being myself a globalist liberal PC Sorogatesian zombie, I don’t watch F1 for the sake of the jobs of the people who work there. I watch F1 as long as it remains a sport. It was always money dependent, but it’s going more and more on thr wrong direction.

        The solution for F1 can’t be bringing 10 Forbes Richest list guys and each one of them buying a team. F1 let 3 teams go and no one cared. They should have been reduced to 5 teams and maybe heads could start tilting about the business model. Let the market work. I’m sure the people working for the team would not go bankrupt.

        Good grief, should I monthly pay to watch Team Owner Stroll, of Stroll GP, leading races??

        For watch people working, I’d rather watch The Office.

        1. Dunder Mifflin Haas F1 Team needs to happen

    2. Come on. He’s better than Hulkenberg. He was better head to head an Hulkenberg was in F1 for 10 years and never had a podium.

      1. You mean Stroll is better than Hulkenberg just because Stroll lucked into podiums?
        Stroll didnt even beat Sirotkin convincingly, and was duly spanked by other team-mates in his 4 seasons so far.
        By your podium logic, Maldonado should be considered a better driver than Perez because he has a win, and Perez has no wins n 10 years.

        1. And in all those years hulkenberg couldn’t even luck into one. Three points less than Massa in rookie year, only points for Williams the following year. Perez beat him last and is doing so this year, but that is not being spanked. Why doesn’t Perez have any wins in ten years.

        2. Stroll has never been spanked by a team mate. Best sirotkin points wise, compared to Russell who could quite possibly go down in the books as the first driver to not score a point in two seasons.

        3. Well said.

  5. This class warfare will never end, it just divides us.

    There’s obvious speed in his hands, just what I want from a driver. I’m no team principal, just a motorsport enjoyer.

    1. So what were supposed to let the rich continue to benefit of the destruction of our planet

      1. Lol, I’m all for billionaires bailing out financially strained F1 teams on the brink of closing its doors and keeping them on the grid as a potentially winning team. As for rich people benefiting from the “destruction of the planet”, it’s been going on since the start of time. Get used to it or become rich.

  6. Did you all know that some World Champions started out as pay drivers?

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      17th November 2020, 13:34

      I remember the huge cheque that Michael Schumacher’s father delivered to Eddie Jordan in 1991.

      1. That was just the terms & conditions of driving for Jordan!

        1. Jose Lopes da Silva
          17th November 2020, 15:54

          Actually, I guess Eddie didn’t read the terms & conditions properly…

      2. Assuming this is true, Jose, and I only say that because I don’t have the time to look it up… How long was Michael Schumacher a pay driver? One weekend? A couple?

        F1 is a money sport and you have to have some (via family, sponsors, etc) to get in the door. There is nothing wrong, in my opinion, with buying a test or a chance to prove yourself. That is different than buying a seat in perpetuity.

        Stroll has enough talent to probably stay on the grid as a second driver in teams that need money or a low cost driver at this point after years of support. But would he be here now if, like your Schumacher example, he got an initial chance at a seat and then had to let his talent pay the bills?

        1. Jose Lopes da Silva
          17th November 2020, 18:39

          …I was being ironic. I’m a self-assumed Stroll Hater and I believe the financial strain is killing the sport, making it into a rich people hobby like in the Fifties. I don’t think Stroll is a pay driver, is a level beyond that: he is a Team Owner because he can’t get fired/dismissed/shown the door. However, unlike McLaren, Brabham or Fittipaldi, he did not start his team – his father bought it for him. Never a thing has happened before, at least since gentlemen drivers entered bought private cars.
          Michael Schumacher’s father was working class. The argument that “all F1 drivers started as pay drivers” is as rubbish as it can be. It is literally comparing the rise of Schumacher, Alonso or Hamilton with the rise of Stroll. Don’t tell me it’s absurd – there’s someone out there saying there’s no difference between Stroll and Hamilton getting a “corporate sugar daddy” to reach F1.

        2. Jose Lopes da Silva
          17th November 2020, 18:49

          …I was being ironic. I’m a self-assumed sTroll and I believe the financial strain is killing the sport, making it into a rich people hobby like in the Fifties. I don’t think Stroll is a pay driver, is a level beyond that: he is a Team Owner because he can’t get fired/dismissed/shown the door. However, unlike McLaren, Brabham or Fittipaldi, he did not start his team – his father bought it for him. Never a thing has happened before, at least since gentlemen drivers entered bought private cars.
          Michael Schumacher’s father was working class. The argument that “all F1 drivers started as pay drivers” is as rubbish as it can be. It is literally comparing the rise of Schumacher, Alonso or Hamilton with the rise of Stroll. Don’t tell me it’s absurd – there’s someone out there saying there’s no difference between Stroll and Hamilton getting a “corporate sugar daddy” to reach F1.

    2. There are competent pay drivers and incompetent pay drivers. The criticism towards Stroll has more to do with the fact that he belongs to the second group, not with him being a pay driver.

  7. Jose Lopes da Silva
    17th November 2020, 13:33

    This class warfare will never end, it just divides us.

    Fortunately I have Maldonado to assure me that odd things can happen. Surely you can spend 100 million dollars to win a Grand Prix, but that means the sport got back to the Fifties. Mazepin will add insult to injury.

    Maybe Stroll could switch to a team where he can get fired for bad performances. You know, like a 4-time world champion can be fired, Stroll could eventually be fired too.

    1. Vettel was NOT fired! Ferrari had honored the current contract to its completion and decided to not extend beyond the current contract. Very different!

      1. Jose Lopes da Silva
        17th November 2020, 16:24

        Your case is semantics, for what we’re talking about. I’ll correct.

        “Maybe Stroll could switch to a team where he can get dismissed for bad performances. You know, like a 4-time world champion can be fired, Stroll could eventually be dismissed too.”

        1. Jose Lopes da Silva
          17th November 2020, 16:26

          * time world champion can be dismissed, Stroll…

          1. Dismissed is the same as fired. It is not semantics when the meaning is vastly different than what actually happened. Dismissed/fired is a immediate removal of a role/positions.

          2. Jose Lopes da Silva
            17th November 2020, 17:40

            I’ll be waiting for Racing Point to honour a Stroll contract to its completion and decide not to extend beyond a current contract.

          3. For your own safety, don’t hold your breath!

            That day will be the day the team sells to someone else!

      2. Lol vettel got replaced by a better driver no two ways of looking at it

  8. Did Pastor Maldonaldo’s 2012 Spanish GP win stop folks from remembering his career for its PDVSA backing?

    It doesn’t matter if Stroll is considered to be a pay driver because he’ll be at Racing Point/AML as long as he likes (look at Marco Andretti & Paul Tracy’s “the only other drive he’ll get is with Uber” comment). It’s only Stroll’s ego that is questioning his status. He should turn it around and use his peak performances to his advantage like Mark Webber’s “not bad for a #2” comment.

    Most drivers need some form of patronage to make it to F1, whether it’s a big sponsor, manufacturer programme or rich daddy.

    More importantly, in the case of some past (and perhaps near future – Google “dublin high court caribbean manufacturing”) funding, is the cash clean?

    1. Maldonado seems to be more remembered for being crashprone than being a paydriver… Oh, and being beat by his teammate in every single season except for one.

      He was a rather useless F1 driver. Win or no win.

  9. I don’t think he’s any better than an average driver and ultimately he’s a waste of a good seat. If he ever beats a proven quality teammate over a season then he can lose the pay driver tag. I guess next year is his big test. if he’s comfortably beaten my Vettel then he needs to go for me.

    1. Stroll will probably get No.1 treatment. But for the first time in his career, Vettel won’t need it. Vettel is a very good driver. No question. But certainly not a great despite all his records. Remember the car is much more important than the driver.

      1. Unfortunately I don’t think Stroll’s market price would raise even IF he could beat (the 2019/20 version) Vettel.

        A lose-lose situation for Stroll .

  10. It’s always been obvious that Stroll does have immense talent in certain conditions; he just needs to show it more often.

    Personally I think he’s been decent all year, and has normally been close to Perez’s race pace. I think he’s going to beat Vettel – the second-worst performing driver in F1 this year – fairly comfortably next season. Then maybe people will consider his ‘useless pay-driver’ tag removed.

    1. @tflb No, I think Vettel will bounce back and be too much for Stroll. This year he seems almost to be driving bad out of spite. But it will look bad if he can’t beat him since Leclerc is whopping Vettel now.

    2. @tflb
      Stroll needs to produce podium results without lucking out on unforeseen circumstances. All his podiums have been because of red flags and SC periods at the end of races (gaining an advantage over his competitors because of it). His performance to this past pole position was outstanding! However, with the struggles because of the wet weather and resurfacing… the Racing Point car seemed like the hands down best car for those conditions. Once the track got drier, the table started to turn on him and Racing Point.

      With that said, I don’t think Lance is a bum. I just think he’s average and no other driver would have been given the same time and patience to develop as he’s been given. I do think he’s done, overall, a very solid job this season (his best season yet).

  11. “Everyone else (apart from Hamilton) has stopped. Box this lap.”

    Oh, apart from your teammate.. sorry about that :)

  12. petebaldwin (@)
    17th November 2020, 13:58

    Ultimately, we’re talking about a guy who now has 4 years’ experience in F1. He can driver a car reasonably well but I’d expect him to be able to do after 76 races…. If given the same opportunities, I think most drivers in GP2 and GP3 would be able to perform at least to a similar standard.

    Stroll does seem to be pretty good in the wet but over the course of a full season, I don’t see him beating anyone else on the grid other than Latifi.

    I don’t have anything against Stroll – he’s done a decent job overall but when you’re comparing the best drivers in the world with a rich kid who’s dad bought a seat in F1, there’s always going to be a gulf in quality.

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      17th November 2020, 14:08

      “there’s always going to be a gulf in quality.”

      The thing is, if he starts winning races, many fans suddenly start to imagine that maybe there is not. You just need to pour 100 million dollars and you make a champion.

    2. We need to put the “pay driver” narrative toned. Money has always had an impact on driver selection except at the very top teams. Perez is getting characterized as the victim of “pay driver” discrimination. Let’s remember that despite being a worthy driver Checo owes his F1 career to big sponsorship money from fellow Mexican Carlos Slim. With few exceptions the same financial reality is true for most other drivers on the F1 grid. They have all been sponsored from age 13 and some cases younger. Stroll gets a bad rap because his Sponsor is his Dad and he is so visible. Remember that, despite his Dad’s money, Stroll has never been in the fastest F1 car and yet at age 22 he has already been on the podium and pole position. Give the kid a break!

  13. Stroll’s 4th place last year at Hockenheim was more because he was in last place and had nothing to lose when taking the gamble with slicks. In Monza, he was gifted a race winning position but blew it with a poor start.

    Though Stroll started off the year well, he is increasingly struggling to match Perez’s sheer consistency in points scoring, when he should be improving instead. Perez also missed 2 races because of COVID so you can’t blame COVID for Stroll’s recent poor performances. There’s no doubt that Racing Point definitely chose the worse driver to retain for 2021 though of course in life money talks more than talent.

  14. He’s a very odd case really. I think he does have some genuine speed, but what he lacks is consistency, both through a season and through a race weekend. Azerbaijan 2007, Italy 2007 and his pole at the weekend were all very impressive performances, but he does still manage to look amateur at times, even four years in.

    Yes, sometimes he beats Perez, but then Bottas “sometimes” beats Hamilton. Perez is clearly the better driver and I think (money aside), if a team owner was offered two of Perez, Stroll and Vettel, almost all of them would be going for Perez and Stroll. As it is, it may still work out nicely for Perez if he can end up at Red Bull.

    In terms of Stroll, at times this year he’s been excellent. Unfortunately, while I can’t put my finger on why, I can’t warm to him, even when he’s doing well.

    1. *2017 even… I’m older than I thought!

    2. @ben-n – I would quibble on two things.

      First, his finishes in Baku and Italy 2017 were not impressive to me. In Baku, essentially 7 cars retired (Kimi had an oil leak and was classified but DNFed), Massa had a huge vibration, Vettel had to serve his penalty for hitting Hamilton under the SC.

      In Italy, his qualifying was ahead of where he should be, so, good one. But he finished about 2 spots ahead of where the Williams fell out on average (5th best team, so average 9th/10th spots). Given Verstappen and Perez had penalties (along with many other drivers that weekend) for engines or transmissions, it was not a stellar result.

      Likewise Germany 2019, seven drivers retired ahead of him. He gambled on slicks and got it right.

      My issue is that he doesn’t max out the car regularly, he doesn’t outperform his teammate. So he is fine. but that’s it.

      And if money was not included in the calculus, I would not take Stroll over Vettel.

  15. This is what I don’t get re ‘pay driver’ tag to compete in every sport you need cash to do so, Lance is just lucky his father can put down the cash and not wait for a corporate sugar daddy.
    Which is what most drivers did anyway, somehow Mclaren financing Hamiltons career does not Matter or Vettel with Redbull/BMW and the rest.

    1. A team nurturing the best young talent in their junior ranks is not in any way shape or form a comparison to a pay driver.

      Stroll is also no ordinary pay driver either. It’s one thing to buy a seat, it’s another to have a team and car company bought for you. Then there’s all the private tests and he still comes across as well below average apart from the odd occasion in the wet.

      1. And in all those years hulkenberg couldn’t even luck into one. Three points less than Massa in rookie year, only points for Williams the following year. Perez beat him last and is doing so this year, but that is not being spanked. Why doesn’t Perez have any wins in ten years.

  16. I guess when you started at very young age, with enough resources and the right people, becoming good in what you do is what is expected.
    I just described Senna, Schumacher, Vettel, Verstappen, Leclerc, Hamilton.
    But I also described hundreds of failed ones, the most recent I recall being Alesi Jr, but also Piquet Jr and Senna’s nephew come to mind.
    So, in the end, is the extra tiny bit of talent and combination of being hungry and aggressive in a smart way that will define a champion.
    Stroll is good and it’s proven. But so is Hulkenberg. Vanddorne. Bottas.

  17. If he was somehow let go from Racing Point today, would any other team hire him?

    I rest my case.

  18. Stephen Higgins
    17th November 2020, 14:30

    If I were the Strolls I would not bother continuing to hire an external driver coach for Lance because he will already have the perfect one in Seb to work with in the team.

    Seb must beat Lance next year or his paddock stock will drop even further. In some ways Lance has nothing to lose against Vettel because nobody really expects Stroll to do anything against Seb and that might free up Lance mentally so that could but might not necessarily lead to an improvement in Lance’s dry weather performance.

    On the basis of what I have seen in terms of wet conditions I actually think Stroll and Vettel is a very strong combo but when it comes to dry conditions barring a massive leap in performance from Lance over the winter then Vettel should have Stroll covered in the dry.

    1. Vettel is an exceptional driver in the wet. He was right in the mix for a victory in a Too Rosso in the wet until he smashed into Webber that day.

  19. I don’t care about the pay driver status really. I never focused on him at all until Perez got the boot.

    Well that and he’s got about as much personality as stale bread.

    1. As it goes, Lance Stroll comes across as a very likeable bloke. He is rarely heard saying anything remotely derogatory and it’s easy to see that he has been brought up respectfully. He does have a whingy side “why Brad, Why why why?” when he could do with being a bit more confident, or sure, as to what he wants but then that’s likely to be the youthfull aspect of his nature. Hamilton has never been one to supress a whinge after all. What I don’t hear from him is much in the way of feedback. Plenty of comments about understeer, but never something like, ‘need to up the front wing a click’.

      Contrary to what my comment below might lead you to think, I don’t actually dislike Stroll on a personal level, (of course, he has such a high opinion of me…. ;) ) as I don’t follow the sport for the drivers, they are a sideshow in my book, but it irks me that the sport is being devalued by nepotism and that the Racing Point team, despite having a much better car this year, seem to be significantly worse than they were last year. I’m baffled by how the team can have such terrible communication with their driver… “how’s the balance” rather than saying something like “we have an anomaly on the front downforce, what do you think?”

      They don’t communicate effectively when he’s in the car and as such I think it is a sad indictment of both his ability and the teams race engineering capability that it hasn’t been correced

      1. Disagree on the “likeable” bit. To me he comes across as many rich kids do – entitled. When he knocked over the front jack man at the previous race not a hint of an apolgy or concern – just a comment that his brakes were cold…

        1. To me you come across like you have a chip on your shoulder purely because he is rich. Same way most his haters probably do

        2. The jack man tripped over the wires

  20. He is not a pay driver and hasn’t been since leaving Williams.

    That his father owns the team does not mean he is still in the realms of a pay driver as that would assume that he doesn’t deserve his place in the team as bringing in cash is his number one reason for having a seat. No, because his father owns the team, he doesn’t deserve his seat as the driver that is leaving is better than him. He doesn’t deserve his seat on merit, but due to nepotism which in my book is worse that being a pay to drive driver.

    His junior formula drives were decent enough, as good as some that are being touted as future greats now (Piastri etc.) but his exploits in the Williams and Racing Point since have done nothing to dispel the label of him not being deserving of a drive.

    One race in difficult conditions will not change the momentum in his favour, pole, or leading for 35 laps. At the end of the day, 8 other drivers did a better job than him and his team during the race, including several spinners. If he continues to show improvement, placing the car in 4th or 5th reliably where, on paper, it should be, then he may go some way of dispelling the tag of a pay driver but until then, he will always have the tag of being there not on merit.

    The same will be said of Mazepin if indeed his father buys a team just to give him a chance and he goes nowhere in relation to his team mate.

    It will be interesting to see how he performs against Vettel

    1. His exploits at Williams are far greater than Russell’s

  21. When half of the grid is there because of their father’s success (Sainz, Magnussen, Verstappen and Schumacher next year), this whole pay driver debate becomes useless

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      17th November 2020, 14:50

      How many F3 teams did Sainz, Magnussen and Verstappen bought? How many dozens of millions of dollars have been spent on them?

      1. Max before F3 only what Jos put in by building his own engines but those engines aren’t millions. F3 he join his Father old team till Red Bull sponsored him then maybe 1 million but F3 isn’t that expensive. Then every team wanted him so he didn’t need to bring sponsors (except personal sponsors) for the team. ( i never saw Jumbo Exact or Ziggo on his cars)

    2. @paeschli

      Sainz and especially Max had good to great results before F1. Surely both had a big advantage in being coached by their father, but that just means that it was easier for them to earn a seat on merit.

  22. Stroll’s 4th place last year at Hockenheim was more because he was in last place and had nothing to lose when taking the gamble with slicks. In Monza, he was gifted a race winning position but blew it with a poor start.

    Though Stroll started off the year well, he is increasingly struggling to match Perez’s sheer consistency in points scoring, when he should be improving instead. Perez also missed 2 races because of COVID so you can’t blame COVID for Stroll’s recent poor performances. There’s no doubt that Racing Point definitely chose the worse driver to retain for 2021 though of course in life money talks more than talent.

    1. the same goes for his two podium finishes. Lucked into both, and both could’ve been even better results but he botched it both times.

      His best result performance wise was the 4th place in Hungary this year, and that was still a big letdown given that Racing Point was clearly the 2nd fastest car on that track.

      1. If you expected a rookie to get better than 3rd in that Williams in Baku, then I think you are expecting too much. I think he did all he could that race. Massa though likely did miss out on a win there as he did look quicker than Stroll, but had experience on his side.

        1. He lost the 2nd place at the finish line, how come he couldn’t do better than that ?

          1. Because Bottas was way faster.

          2. wow, really? If Stroll was like, half a second faster on that whole stint, he wouldn’t have lost that position.

            2nd place was well within his reach, maybe not within his hability, because he was/is slow, but not because he was a rookie. All these young drivers were fast since day one, while he was struggling to be within less than a second to a semi-retired Massa, for the majority of that season.

  23. I felt so bad for him. Poor kid. Not literally.

  24. Love him or hate him: no Stroll, no Racing Point, no Aston as a team next year.

    Stroll has always been super nice to everyone around him, his dad saved a very talented team (a huge talking point in F1), and he can drive well enough to be noticed once in a while… Why the hate… Thank him and his dad’s billions

  25. If teams are rotating crews to deal with 22 or 23 races in 2021, can’t they do the same with drivers? Surely it’s better to go with the guy who’s 4th in the championship, 100 points and beating the Ferrari and Renault empires. Keep Lance on the bench in case it rains and/or Vettel can’t keep up.

    Also keep an eye on Lawrence Stroll selling Aston Martin shares to Mercedes-Benz. When it reaches a tipping point, it’ll no longer be Team Dad and someone like George Russell will come in…

  26. The problem with Lance is consistency – he has shown that he has flashes of brilliance but they are not frequent enough to keep him in F1. There’s a comparison to be made here between Lance Stroll and Ernests Gulbis, if you don’t know him it’s a shame as he’s a tennis player and the son of a Latvian billionaire, who was so talented that he could go toe to toe with Roger, Novak, and Nadal on clay on his good days. Tremendous player but not hungry enough unfortunately…

    I was watching (on TV) Nadal play the finals at the French Open and he was leading Djokovic by a huge margin. I was just speechless at how Nadal was chasing every ball down as if he was trying to save match point – forget that he’s in his 30s. I believe the commentator also spoke about it and said something along the lines that “he’s chasing every ball as if it will decide if there’s food on the table for his family tonight”.

    And that sums up the difference between Perez and Stroll. One’s fighting for his life and has been since the drop from McLaren (greatest thing that happened to Perez) while the other can casually “stroll around”. His dad should probably lock him up in the closet for the weekend just like Ferrer’s coach did at the Barcelona academy when he wasn’t working hard – it’s so ironic cause Ferrer is renowned for how hard he worked. If you asked Ferrer why he didn’t win a major, he’d tell you instantly it was because he didn’t work hard enough.

    The problem at this point isn’t Lance – it’s Lawrence as I mentioned in another post.

    1. @freelittlebirds
      I’m not sure the Nadal example is a good one. Though, I understand what your trying to convey and generally agree with your overall perspective (good points on Lawrence being a problem). Its just… that is Nadal’s style as he plays the long game and wears down his opponents (that style fits his attributes/skills). Nadal is probably the most competitive athlete I’ve ever seen (and a top notch sportsman, aka, great role model for kids). Federer is just as slick as they come (another great sportsman and role model)!

      Though, I have no idea how hard Stroll works at his craft (fitness, driving, etc) outside of a race weekend. So I’m not going to say he’s lazy or just “strolling around” (lol, like that). Though, he is definitely not very technical (or it seems that way) and does not seem to know how to translate what he feels to his mechanics effectively. I think he needs to take the initiative to sit with his mechanics more and try to understand their perspective and how vehicle dynamics work and how it translates to feel. Maybe something Vettel could help him with. On another note, he also seems to get flustered easily when faced with adversity (struggles to adjust, I think its more a mental thing if anything else).

      1. @flyingferrarim I agree with you – I’m the unusual tennis fan who likes Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic! It gets me into a lot of trouble at home especially during Grand Slam season:-)

        When I said “strolling around”, I meant any type of minor change in intensity, consistency, interruption etc. I was very surprised by the comment made by a soccer coach (I forget who) who said that if one of his players was at 95% of his fitness and ability, then that player was usually 50% less effective on the pitch. How could a tiny difference have such a huge impact? The margins are so thin that a momentary lack of focus is all it takes to throw it all away.

        1. @freelittlebirds
          Your not the only unusual fan of Nadal and Federer (my hand is up). I like Federer better, but Nadal is a close 2nd in my eyes. Plus, I play with a Babolat Pure Aero as a racket (probably not as heavy as Nadal). I don’t dislike Djokovic, he just has his moments where you just ask… what are you doing?… but generally I think he’s a good guy (class clown in a good way) that has kinks in his game. But can be great, if not better than nadal or federer, on his good days.

          I have no idea, but you could be correct on the intensity factor of Stroll. Interesting soccer coach comment. Not sure how true that is. I don’t think it would be a blanket statement across multiple sports. I mean look at tennis… a 95% Nadal will still destroy a Borna Coric 99% of the time! So maybe it is sport dependent and more true to the game of soccer? i think racing you could be 95% and still be more than 90% effective, IMO. But I have no way to support that but just guessing based on my karting and formula ford experiences!

          1. @flyingferrarim That’s funny – my daughter played with the Pure Aero but she’s switched to the Head Radical. You might know this already but most pros don’t play with the racquet that they sponsor – they use old pro racquets, some are playing with 20 year old models.

            Well, the funny part about tennis is that players like Federer don’t really win a huge number of points over top 10 opponents. I believe his career is much lower than anyone expects (he might 5%-10%) over his opponents. They win the important points and those are the ones that require 100% of your ability.

            Same with soccer, if you’re 5% slower it’s going to be hard to shake a top-notch defender. You could get by a less talented defender and maybe even get a shot on target by gaining a 10 centimeter advantage but it’s still going to be very, very tight. Same with F1 – one example was Mercedes at the German GP. They took their eyes off the ball for a second and the best they could manage was P9.

            For anyone else reading who likes tennis, I’ll share the best tip I’ve ever gotten. When you hit the ball, don’t look at where it’s going. Just keep looking at where you hit it for a fraction of a second. To train at doing that, don’t even bother looking where it went until the opponent hits it. You’ll see your percentages of shots hit well go up by double digits percentage-wise and your shots will probably be deeper and faster. The other thing to do is to visualize where you’ll place the shot before you hit it. That allows your brain to sort everything out before you strike the ball. Combined with your eyes and brain hitting the ball accurately when looking at it for the full swing, you’ll start being way more precise than before.

            This also applies to soccer – you’re supposed to look at the ball as you’re striking and keep the head down. Look up and the ball will sky.

          2. @freelittlebirds
            Honestly I didn’t know that the pro’s did that, but interesting fact. I played with a $100 wilson hammer for a long time. Demo’d a bunch of rackets a couple years ago looking to upgrade and adjust my game to add a little more power (I’m a spin and ball placement player) to my game. I liked the Babolat pure aero the best as I was consistent with it and little head heavier than my old racket so it helped a bit with my power (hated all the Wilson’s I tried). I kept a square cross-section string to keep my spin game relevant. It was working out pretty good until I blew my knee out going for a drop ball (completely tore my MCL). A little over a year later (today) I’m finally getting back into the game more (boy I’m rusty) as I’m getting more confidence in my knee.

            All your points on tennis tips are key. Key in pretty much every ball sport! The only thing I would add is stress the importance of moving your feet to square up for your swings as much as possible.

          3. @flyingferrarim Interesting, I have a Wilson K Factor from 2008. I’m overdue a replacement as I think the frame is dead as are my synthetic strings which now move and I’m correcting them more than Nadal has to :-)

            I can’t demo anything now due to Covid – my game is flat (eastern grip) with minor spin to keep the ball in. I mostly play to have fun with my daughter but I’m her hitting partner so she’s only going to be as good as I am :-) So I have to play at a much higher level than I can. I feel your pain – I tore my plantar fasciitis (it’s a muscle at the bottom of the foot) and it’s been recovering since then. Never do a drill going backwards, ever and especially not in the morning since it takes hours for the body to really be ready especially if you’re past your prime.

            The moving part is so important in tennis but easier said than done:-)

          4. @freelittlebirds
            Eastern grip is a pretty popular one for most and the easiest/more natural one to get to grips with (pun intended). I tend to be busy on the grip type as I adjust it based on the type of shot I’m shooting for. For instance my base grip is the Semi-western: top spin (forehand) and flat/power hit (forehand). I then use the two handed backhand for flat/power and topspin only. I will then use the continental grip for my forehand slice. Then use the Full western grip for my one handed back hand slice shot (this is my bread and butter shot). Also, by altering my backhand slice swing, I can get the ball to bounce away from the opponent when doing a slice at the back left corner (keep in mind I’m a righty… catches many off guard). Most stick to one grip type, but I just find it easier to change grip to change the angle of contact on the ball… especially since I’m not a power hitter and rely so much on spin/ball movement.

            On serve I’m usually Eastern grip, occasionally when doing a slice serve I use the continental grip. FYI, I have the McEnroe serve (with my back to net), but I’m a righty instead of a lefty.

      2. @flyingferrarim full western grip on a backhand slice? interesting… Well, if you have McEnroe’s serve, you’re all set :-)

        I’ve been trying to teach my daughter a backhand slice using continental grip. She’s had to use it a lot lately as her left hand has an injury and she has a two-handed backhand. It’s not as consistent as we’d like it to be but when she gets it right it ends the point. Perhaps you can point me to some videos showing a backhand slice with a western grip. I also want to teach her a forehand slice.

        1. @freelittlebirds
          Sorry, no I use semi-western backhand grip for my slice… I miss spoke saying full. I experimented with full western on my forehand, but was a little awkward.

          An idea for your daughter, I have played folks that used their non dominant hand as their “backhand”. So if your daughter has a left hand forehand… she could learn to use a right hand forehand has her “backhand”. I’ve played several folks that play that way! Both times I played players like this, I got spanked bad, lol. They have an additional benefit of extra reach so they automatically expand their court coverage. I’m sure it’s not easy to learn, but was always hard for me to play against.

          As for learning the slice… I don’t have any specific videos. For me, I like to take video clips of pros and slow it down and just analyze their stroke. Stroke analysis would include start of forward stroke, contact, follow through, and stroke shape. Also consider body contortion and foot placement. The biggest thing that helped me with backhand slice is a pretty steep high to low slopping arm motion (strings facing where you want to go with it) with a stroke shape that should be a “J” type path. That’s best way I can describe it. But the key bit to maximize the spin element is to “cusp” the ball with the strings on contact (this is the hardest thing to get right and much easier to learn with a lighter racket). Cusp meaning I rotate the racking at ball contact (tough to explain via chat). I think federer or dolgopolov is the best pro to slow down and watch for this. While analyzing videos (watching it over and over again), I would have her close her eyes and visualize what she has to do from grip to motion to contact to follow through. This visualizing technique has been so helpful to me in all sports (racing included).

          1. @flyingferrarim this is even funnier – I actually know exactly what you mean by J and “cusp” – I’ve also watched Federer slice and he moves the racquet on contact as do other players – there’s like a tap and I’ve been trying to do but like you said it’s hard to do it. My daughter’s instructors have a completely different philosophy on slices. One wants her to use it defensively and push the player back by lifting the racquet as you slice to lift the ball. The other instructor wants her to come in and hit it at an angle as if you’re cutting the ball forward – he has deadly slices. In every lesson, I’m just in awe of his slices. And he’s been caught by surprise many a time by my daughter’s slice which is the J cutting sideways, extending the shoulders, and dropping both arms as she does it. The ball hugs the ground and bounces viciously gaining tremendous speed after the bounce. If she makes it more consistent, she’ll never see a backhand in a match :-)

            Here’s a video of Fed’s slice that’s actually not great in terms of seeing the stroke but shows you how easily he does it and the consistency:

          2. @freelittlebirds
            lol, I mean. Keep in mind that there are different strokes for different folks. The key is to take tid bits that is known to work and mold it into your own swing. I think instructors really force specific swings. But I find it ridiculous to mold them into something that isn’t “natural” to your own swing. Not to mention I think it promotes injuries as well if instructors are forcing a motion that isn’t natural to the player. So its up to the individual to adapt the basic fundamental into their natural style. For your daughter, I would (I do this a lot too for teaching someone or just warmup for myself) play in the four squares only. Focus on slow motions (no power) on hitting the ball and keeping the speed slow. Then go full court with more full motions but keeping it slow. Then build up the speed to game speed. They key is building that muscle memory and feel! **slices are more about touch so keep that power down**

            As far as the slice goes, it really comes down to how you use it in your style of play. Both instructors are not incorrect, but that is what or how they see the game. The key is to NOT push the ball forward. The J style is great for backspin drop shots at within the net boxes where the more “slice” motion is best for shots closer to the back line (deeper play). I see the slice game in two ways (depends on your opponent)… 1) J slice at or near net is great to get a non aggressive opponent to move and pull them in, and 2) the slicing at the ball is great to mess with the opponent who plays with a lot of power. Which will make them hit net frequently because the spin on the ball makes them hit with “top spin” and they rarely correct for that in which case the ball drops more. It sounds like your daughter is pretty good but lacks consistency… I would start your practice sessions slow and start in the four squares before moving back to full court. If she gets inconsistent, at full court, pull in her back into the four squares again (to slow her down) and repeat. More power will revert to lower accuracy and lower consistency, so slowing down is good to get back good contact and feel. Also I would have her do that “visualization” bit I described previously (it really does help even though it sounds silly).

          3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            20th November 2020, 1:39

            @flyingferrarim sorry for the late reply – it’s been a busy day;-) Thanks for the advice! It sounds like you’re a tennis instructor, right? We almost never do the 4 squares – we start playing full court immediately. It might not be bad to pull her back if she misses a few times. I’m really interested to see how her slice evolves. I really enjoyed our discussion!

          4. @freelittlebirds
            I enjoyed the discussion as well! No, I am not an instructor, but I do my fair share of teaching the game to newer players. I always warmup in the four squares… its my sort of “calibration” before practicing or games. Tennis is a really fun game and probably the hardest to pickup IMO (a lot of patience is required, lol). Its not only physical… its a chess match, technical, and a dynamic game as a whole. Good luck to your daughters tennis game (and hope her hand heels up quickly)! Stay safe!

  27. “When you are interviewing someone for a job you have to dig deeper; just as someone brilliant may say something wrong from time to time, the wrong person may say something brilliant from time to time”
    One or two good races do not define a driver, until he starts showing some consistency he will be tagged as a pay driver.
    Perez was also considered a pay driver during his first years in F1 but has evolved to the very fine diver he is today, Stroll has potential and needs to improve on the consistency side, only then he will gain the public respect. So far he is just an average driver at the most.
    I guess only time will tell, he will get it, let’s see what he does with it.

  28. So let me get this straight, Stroll has one great qualifying, and half a good race and somehow that’s enough to forget how utterly mediocre he has been? Nah, I don’t think so. Even Maldonado managed to get a pole, and win a race. Stroll is still an inconsistent, overall sub-par pay driver who from time to time can be fast who is only in F1 due to daddy’s money.

    1. How close has Perez ever come.

  29. No, it doesn’t.

    He obviously has pace and isn’t a terrible driver – but then given the preparation he has had and the financial and emotional stability he’s benefitted from throughout his career makes that rather expected. Personally I don’t think he’s ever going to be a special talent on the same level as Verstappen, Hamilton, Alonso, etc, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a solid F1 driver, taking podiums, points and perhaps wins if the chance arises. There’s nothing wrong in that.

    But it doesn’t escape the horrible point that if it wasn’t for his father’s money and nepotism and he was judged purely on his performances then he would be unlikely to still be here. Obviously drivers paying for drives isn’t a new thing in F1 but with him there’s such a strong sense of nepotism, such a strong sense of money it’s difficult for me to really support him when other drivers with much less financial stability or preparation bought for them may lose their seats in favour of someone who did and is still distinctly less impressive.

  30. A bit off topic from the main conversation here – but it’s interesting that having complained about understeer at the end of the first inter stint, when asked about the balance Stroll said it was fine. Surely if it was understeer, even if it was caused by damage, he should have asked for more front end at the pit stop to compensate. If it was caused by damage it might not have made much difference, but it’s the kind of thing you expect the more experienced and confident drivers to ask for.

    1. @keithedin
      I agree, I personally feel the “wing” damage was a way for the team to protect Stroll and his lack of speed in drying conditions (he will not improve if they give him reasons like this). If that damage happened on lap 17 and had that much of a performance impact…. why was Stroll not immediately complaining to his team about such an imbalance? This either shows Stroll’s incompetence or lack of ability to adjust his driving with the ever changing conditions (unable to adapt). Or is it a mental thing, in the sense he started panicking after realizing his race is slipping away and felt helpless?

      None the less, I think there are even more question marks about him now than ever before! I don’t buy into this front wing damage.

      1. @flyingferrarim – excellent point. A point that messes up the racing points.

  31. He has lost two races that he should have won. So no, the debate is wide open.

  32. He did alright. But he was, legitimately, once again helped by circumstance. The Racing Point was clearly the fastest car on the grid in intermediate circumstances, and they were the only ones to gamble on Intermediates so had the added advantage of having 2 to 3 more laps of getting them working. Both he and his teammate did great jobs under those circumstances, but it was still an extraordinary circumstance that got him in that position, and not exceptional skill.

    Baku, the same, he took advantage of a bunch of retirements to take a podium. It wasn’t because of an exceptional drive on his end. Monza this year got him to start second in the restart due to a lot of luck and then he completely bottled it and ended up limping to third. A good result yes, but not due to exceptionalism on Stroll’s part.

    His qualifying on Monza got him a solid fourth, a good accomplishment in that Williams and his best performance to date, that he got promoted to the front row that day was an added bonus. This remains, in my opinion, the only really exceptional accomplishment Stroll has delivered in his entire F1 run.

    Now does that mean he’s a bad driver? No, he’s not a bad driver. He’s pretty okay, in fact. He’s not any worse than most of the midfield drivers. He’s every bit as good a hand as Latifi, Gio, Grosjean, and the like. He’s not at the top of the midfield amongst Kimi, Sainz, Ricciardo and the like, but that’s fine. The problem here is that Stroll was hailed as the next top talent when he came into the sport. Not just by his team around him, or by Claire Williams and her team as justification for getting him, but also by certain people in the media (though certainly not all of them). After all he was young (17 or 18) and promoted straight to F1, the comparisons to Max Verstappen were being made. Stroll never delivered on this. He never delivered on being a Verstappen, a Leclerc, not a Norris, or a Russell.

    Had they let Stroll make a name for himself for a few years more and had they not hyped him up so much, I think the image surrounding him would be very different right now.

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      17th November 2020, 15:51

      …and as long as we could get fired, like every F1 driver.

    2. Isn’t rather ironic that you say he came in with all the all the hype and circumstance when the next best thing may go down in the books as the first F1 driver never to score a point in two seasons, score one point for all the pay drivers.

      1. It would be foolish to pretend you can like for like compare drivers based on points results in this sport. Especially when comparing two completely different situations and seasons. You think Stroll would have done any better in that Williams? I doubt anyone would or could seriously make that case.

  33. “Strll’s pole was confirmed after stewards’ investigation” says the caption. According to the article Stroll scored Racing Point’s best result during 2019 at Nurburgring. And there were even more brainfarts on front page earlier today.
    I get it that it’s important to publish news and such as soon as possible, but mistakes like this can be costly @keithcollantine

    You’re desperately looking for more F1F Supporters but mistakes like that could hinder your progression quite a lot.

  34. Is he in F1 because he is fast, because he has money or a combination? The answer is money. I don’t think any team would pay for Stroll. And while I don’t blame him and have nothing against him personally, this means he is just a pay driver.

  35. I mean, Perez being 4th in the championship while Stroll is 11th is pretty convincing for me – especially when you consider Perez MISSED 2 RACES and was getting new parts after Lance…

    1. @joeypropane
      Stroll did miss one race and he did have an unforeseen tire failure at Mugello (not his fault). So I think it is fair that the “missed 2 races” is irrelevant. But I agree with your main premise.

      1. He also had an engine failure in Austria and was wiped out by Leclerc in Russia.

        1. But he was favoured by the red flag in Italy leaping him from the back of the grid to second while Perez was sent back due to a slow pit stop under the yellow flag (when he was running 4th). So, what happens during racing still counts. There is one race difference between the two and Checo has a 41 point advantage. This is massive.

  36. Stroll isn’t the worst driver ever and I’d say that current pay drivers at least have to work their way throughout the lower categories which wasn’t always the case, however, what I don’t like is that his position in a solid team is too permanent, Perez is a pay driver but has a lot of natural talent and still got the boot, Maldonado was fast, wreckless and deservedly was dropped by Lotus. Its just that even if Stroll had multiple dismal seasons he still can’t lose his seat, that’s what I don’t like.

  37. It should be but when you read about the amount of extra running he does compared to other drivers it is quite clear he has an advantage.
    He is flattered by the fact that the talent pool in motorsport is incredibly limited across the board.
    He is a below average driver most of the time, nothing special. Did a good job this weekend.

  38. I don’t understand this article.
    Lance Stroll is with Racing Point primarily because of being the son of Lawrence Stroll. If he was called Joe Bloggs, he would have not displaced Esteban Ocon and would not have stayed instead of Sergio Perez.
    Perez and Ocon are solid drivers, but not proven to be in the absolute top tier of F1. Yet Stroll is below them in terms of ability over a season, regardless of doing a (half) good job in an individual race.

  39. This article is a joke, right?

    Let us be absolutely clear….. he never got into F1 on merit. Only Daddy’s money.

    He isn’t retaining his seat on merit. Only Daddy’s money.

    He could wipe out half the field on any given lap…..and he still wouldn’t lose his seat……due to Daddy’s money.

    He took off like a hare on Sunday instead of utilising any tyre management skills and destroyed his tyres, and then whines about the state of his tyres.

    He might be a nice guy……but he is never a star!

    1. this ^ and i had to make sure it wasnt aprill first…

  40. Lance has 59 WDC points, which is just below half way down the WDC points table. So he’s about average so far this season, which I think is about where he is as an F1 driver: he’s average. Even if he’d won this race it wouldn’t have changed the minds of many of his detractors. Getting a Pole Position is slightly exceptional for an average driver, but so was Pierre Gasly’s recent win slightly exceptional for an average driver (now with 63 WDC points). Slightly exceptional does happen to average drivers, just as an unexpectedly low result can happen to even very good drivers, e.g. Valtteri finished 14th.

    1. @drycrust I like how faithfully you adhere to championship positions as the mark of talent. Gasly has had 2 engine failures and is driving what is often the 6th or 7th fastest car, and is not only ahead of Stroll but also within striking distance of Albon. You call out his win as the only notable achievement this season. What about his performances at Spa, Nurburgring, Portimao and Imola quali? Stroll is getting hammered by his teammate, whereas Gasly is doing the hammering.

      1. So you call out @drycrust for adhering to championship position as a mark of talent, yet say Stroll is getting hammered, using the points as reference. Without Stroll’s unlucky retirements in Austria, Tuscany and Russia he would likely have been right on Perez’s tail going into Turkey.

        1. @hsvdt15 I mean I can also talk about Perez missing 2 races to Stroll’s one, not getting the same upgrades Stroll did at Mugello and Sochi, and the blown strategy calls at Austria-1, Spa and Imola, not to mention terrible safety car timing misfortune at Monza (a race Stroll had the win handed to him on a platter and still proceeded to muck up)…you see where I’m coming from? Their quali record stands at 8-3, and 7-1 in dry conditions in Perez’s favour. That’s usually a lot more indicative of pace than points, and it does resemble a hammering.

  41. No. Changes nothing, it is not a big deal anyway.

  42. In F1 once they give you the “rent a drive” or “pay driver” handle it is near impossible to shake it. Even Niki Lauda was referenced late in his career as once being a “rent a driver”, if Niki couldn’t shake it I would suggest that Stroll will have it for the rest of his career and life.

    1. José Lopes da Silva
      17th November 2020, 22:41

      First thins he needs to do to shake it is race with the possibility of being fired.

  43. Stroll would beat Bottas in the same equipment in the wet. Probably similar in the dry.

  44. It’s really getting a bit ridiculous that people think this race (plus a handful of others out of the total he’s done) means he deserves a seat in F1. He doesn’t. On pure performance and consistency alone the lineup next year would be Perez and Vettel, if daddy Stroll wasn’t paying (although I acknowledge Vettel wouldn’t be there if daddy stroll wasn’t paying). The only hope we have is that Vettel really turns up next year, destroys him, and the other shareholders say enough is enough.

    As to the whole weekend, something odd is going on. The amount of lost downforce that RP are claiming would not result in a driver saying aero balance is ok. Drivers can tell if there is even a fraction of a percent change in behaviour. Either Lance really doesn’t get the car, or RP are lying. Given their general behaviour this year I going with the latter. The reality is that they probably didn’t reduce the pressures which, with a drying track, overheated the inters and destroyed the surface. It’s still painfully obvious that they don’t understand the car, which given they didn’t design it, isn’t a surprise.

    There are better talents in F1 now (Perez), recently (Hulk) and upcoming (Mick, Calum) that are more deserving of a seat on performance. Stroll is there because daddy paid, it doesn’t make him a bad driver, but it doesn’t mean he’s good enough on merit alone.

  45. What more does he need to do to persuade his doubters that he is more than just a “pay driver”

    How about earn a seat in any team, on merit, rather than because his father bought it for him? Is that really too much to comprehend?

    1. I’m betting he could get a seat at Williams on merit compared to the next greatest superstar ever to enter F1 since Hamilton who could go down in the as the first F1 to not score a point in two seasons. Now that is quite the accomplishment.

      1. Jose Lopes da Silva
        18th November 2020, 9:10

        How many points did Kubica and Latifi score with the same car and circumstances?
        1? Oh no! Russell is awful, terrible! He scored one point less!

        If you think that’s a good criterium to rate Russell, I can understand you bet on Williams giving Stroll a seat on merit.

  46. He now has had “a” moment in Grand Prix racing. Gotta do a bit more than that. Although I enjoy the moment he was having. Actually I couldn’t believe it. So is that enough now to be called Lance the Star Racer. His old man is thereby called Start Leader. So much attention for great race that turned south rather quickly after the words “WHY WHY WHY” and the dreamer turned to vapor and wafted into the history books.

  47. A quick one word answer.


  48. There is one very easy hypothetical test to answer this question.

    Assume Lawrence Stroll pulls his investment from RP, and his backing from Lance, would any other team on the grid pick him up on pure merit and pay him a $5-10mill salary (ie, the same as a Hulk, Perez, Grosjean, Mag, etc)..?

    You know it and I know it, the answer is no.

  49. Stroll is fast and has a subtle touch but he doesn’t inspire the sense that he is a potential future champion…..only past or future Champions deserve a place in the top teams. That Stroll is driving for Aston Martin in 2021 and not Perez is an insult to the sport and evidence that Daddy’s love and money counts for more than talent.

  50. I don’t rank Stroll as a pay driver, he’s in the “Daddy bought me an F1 team” category. That’s what bothers me, because it sets a precedent that could very well wreck the sport. Imagine if Mazepin Sr. buys Hass for his boy to play with and then Latiffi Sr. buys Williams so his son never has to worry about finding a drive. I’m not sure I’d de willing to watch races if it came to that. As for Stroll’s driving, I don’t think he’ll ever be more than mediocre. Money can only take you so far. Mario Andretti gave an interview to the F1 podcast in which he said something quite enlightening about his grandson Marco. He said it’s a very different thing when “you want it and can’t have it” compared to “you can have it if you want it”. I guess that’s the case here, and it’s not even his fault. When everything is handed to you, when there’s no consequence if you don’t deliver, you never find your limits, let alone push them.

  51. Did Stroll’s Turkish GP performance end the “pay driver” debate?

    No, he blazed for a while

    You cannot put an F1 car on pole without a bucket load of talent, sure, i accept that,
    Niki was a pay driver for a spell , no? we all love Niki :)

    So sure, Stroll has talent, and, is a pay driver

    1. unless of course he’s actually paid a wage and contributes none of that wage to the team then he is , Not !! a pay driver,

  52. The only things this race conclusively reaffirmed is that Verstappen is overhyped and Hamilton is the class of the field in terms of talent.

  53. Honestly I can’t believe most of these comments, all still saying he’s a pay driver.

    You know what race this one reminded me of? Monza 2018, raikkonen, a very good chance to win, vettel failed, he fought hamilton and eventually, because of mercedes’ 1 vs 2 strategy and tyres giving in he didn’t make it, so a great race getting less than he deserved, just like stroll here, ruined by the new tyres.

    As much as raikkonen isn’t considered a really strong driver, I doubt people would say he didn’t deserve his place in f1, I was one of the biggest critics when stroll started, but at this point his father was right when he said “lance is on f1 on merit”.

    I obviously hate perez is losing his seat, to vettel of all people (even though he drove better than usual here, but 1 race is not enough), and would like to see him in red bull, but just because I’m against the decision to drop perez doesn’t mean stroll isn’t also worthy of a midfield seat.

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