Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Sochi Autodrom, 2020

2020 F1 driver rankings #15: Lance Stroll

2020 F1 season review

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Racing Point had the third-quickest car on average over the course of 2020, so arithmetically their drivers should have ended the year well inside the championship top 10. Sergio Perez did, but Lance Stroll placed 11th, with the same points haul as a rival with the seventh-fastest car.

Granted, there were mitigating factors, as we’ll come to. But it’s striking that in a car which should have regularly finished inside the top six, Stroll only did so five times.

Of course it didn’t help matters that Stroll missed one race after contracting Covid-19. The races immediately after his return were among the poorest of the season, suggesting he might have come back too soon, though he could have always delayed his return if he didn’t feel fully up to it. In the first of those weekends, at Autodromo do Algarve, he had two collisions with different – Max Verstappen infamously in practice, Lando Norris during the race. At the following round Stroll made contact with Esteban Ocon on the first lap, ruining his afternoon.

Stroll also missed out on some points due to misfortune. Notably at Sochi, where Charles Leclerc turfed him into a barrier on the first lap of the race. (Bizarrely, this went unpunished, though much the same could be said of Stroll’s obviously illegal overtake on Daniel Ricciardo in the Styrian Grand Prix, which the stewards later agreed was a wrong call.) He also suffered a tyre failure which caused a huge crash in Mugello.

But even taking all this in mitigation, Stroll delivered much less for Racing Point than the driver who was shown the door at the end of the year. Perez was consistently the quicker of the two.

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Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Istanbul Park, 2020
Stroll led at Istanbul but came home ninth
That was partly reflected in the 50-point gap between them at the end of the season, which probably flattered Stroll, not least because Perez missed one more race than him. There were times when Stroll clearly had the rub of the green, as at Monza, where the timing of a race suspension helped move him ahead of his team mate. This yielded the first of two podium finishes.

It’s not unrealistic to suggest Stroll could have won either of those races. At Monza, he was in a strong position at the restart but was passed by Pierre Gasly and Carlos Sainz Jnr, who went on to take first and second. On Stroll’s return to the podium at the Sakhir Grand Prix, Perez won, rising from last place on lap one and overtaking Stroll on the way.

Perez’s strength has always been his race pace rather than his one-lap speed, yet he had Stroll easily covered in qualifying as well (again) this year. Following Perez’s return from illness, Stroll only out-qualified him once in the remaining 11 races together.

Lance Stroll

Beat team mate in qualifying5/16
Beat team mate in race5/9
Races finished11/16
Laps spent ahead of team mate378/685
Qualifying margin+0.26s
Points75

That was at Istanbul, where Perez’s gamble on intermediate tyres revealed Racing Point had a chance of pole on the bizarrely grip-less surface, which Stroll took it after Antonio Giovinazzi held up his team mate. Stroll’s remarkable run in the rain-hit race was further proof that, in the right conditions, he can produce excellent performances. On that occasion he didn’t get the result to show for it, having apparently collected front wing damage which affected his handling.

His ability to impress in tricky conditions has never really been in question during his career. As has consistently been the case with Stroll, what makes him hard to rate among F1’s top drivers is his regular deficit to the team’s other car in normal conditions.

It didn’t help his cause that he was even shown up by the team’s substitute, Nico Hulkenberg, who out-qualified him in their second race together at Silverstone. Which begs the question: When Hulkenberg returned as a substitute for Stroll at the Nürburgring, did Racing Point have their strongest driver line-up all year?

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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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89 comments on “2020 F1 driver rankings #15: Lance Stroll”

  1. inb4 anti-Stroll comments inb4 Stroll hate comments inb4 comments that aren’t criticism about him at all

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      18th January 2021, 13:09

      I’m always ready for them. And of course I don’t have personally against him, although he could have refused to have 1 billion dollars poured into his career, just ought of a sense of honour.

      1. Let’s see if they get annoyed.

    2. To be fair and honest, if you can drive in the wet, then you deserve to be in F1. Some other drivers just could not excel under rain or heavy rain conditions.

      1. Well I’m talking about Portugal. You know, FP2, an incident and then a slur.

      2. He deserves to be in F1… just ranked as one of the poorest performers every season for the entirety of his career.

      3. if you can drive in the wet, then you deserve to be in F1

        Cannot agree @krichelle . As much as we tend to rate rain drives, truth is they make up barely any of the races at all, much less so now that races tend to get red-flagged or postponed in 1999’s intermediate weather conditions. So if we were to assume someone who actually only was any good in the rain, he’d have to go.

    3. @Dave I think the comment you were aiming for was “First post!”

      About the subject of the article, my opinion is that Stroll isn’t the best driver or the worst, but that he certainly doesn’t appear to be worth retaining at Aston Martin on merit. I guess Pérez has had the last laugh there!

      1. You really think so? No one does, pal. I’ve seen a lot of anti-Stroll comments and Stroll hate comments here. I think you don’t understand me at all.

  2. You have to wonder what would have happened in Istanbul without the front wing damage. He was about 10 seconds in front of Perez when the damage came, so could he have held off Hamilton and kept his tires going until the end? That was probably the biggest disappointment for me on-track this year, that we didn’t have that battle for the win there, although with DRS in the second half of the race it could have been too easy for Hamilton.

    Other than that and despite the lucky podiums a pretty underwhelming season, maybe Hungary was another bright spot, but if I remember correctly Perez felt a bit sick there. I’m not one who thinks he’s undeserving to be on the grid, but I expected more from him this year, especially with the early season fanfare of how this RP might be the second best car on the grid (which proved false), but even if it wasn’t for Perez’s late season technical problems, Stroll’s mid season slump played a big part in RP losing 3rd in the Constructors. However I would have kept him and Perez together, and hadn’t signed Seb in his current form, Stroll is still pretty young and has the time to get his stuff together to be more than a decent driver for his dad’s team in the long run.

    1. @hunocsi

      Perez felt a bit sick in qualifying and didn’t even seem to mention it in the interviews afterwards. Most articles said it was just in qualifying. The thing that I don’t get about Stroll’s rating is that he clearly was pretty much bang on even with perez for the first half of the season. Many mid season rakings on the internet had Stroll placed ahead of Perez which I wouldn’t argue with. Even 10 races into the season, Stroll was still ahead of Perez in the standings. People can say Perez had bad luck; missed two races due to the virus and had his luck turned around in Italy. But…. Stroll had a retirement in Austria and Tuscany (which he was set for a podium in the former), then got taken out by Leclerc in Russia when he’d already instantly caught up to Perez on the first lap. By this point, their luck was pretty much even 10 races into the season, and Stroll was still ahead of Perez in the standings by one point.

      It certainly turned around then onwards and other than in Turkey, Stroll was pretty poor in most races while it was the other way round for Perez as he really impressed. Still, if Perez is rated 8 – 10 places ahead, I don’t think that is fair really. I think Perez either had a very underwhelming first half of the season, or Stroll at this stage was seriously underrated. Or it could just be between that.

      Anyhow, I think Stroll should be rated several places higher Unless Perez is places right at the bottom of the top 10 which i don’t think is right either.

      1. Perez didn’t perform too well either in the first half of the season I think (compared to his usual form and the capability of the car), which clearly wasn’t helped by missing those two races, and before that, crashing into Albon in Styria was a low point. I think the rankings here have been rational through the years and his top late-season form won’t put too much emphasis on his place, but I would still expect him around 8-10th.

        1. I think Perez should be in the top six, at least, and I think this rating is about right for Stroll. (If anything, I would drop him behind Giovinazzi). I explained in the Albon section why Perez and Stroll were very even in the first half of the season, although looking at it again I now think Perez was very slightly better. However, from Russia to Abu Dhabi, I believe Perez was arguably the best driver of all, except perhaps Lewis Hamilton, and that jumped him up from 12th after Mugello to 3rd at the end of the year (in my ratings), just ahead of Ricciardo, Gasly and Leclerc. Stroll, on the other hand, was arguably the worst driver in the second half of the year, and that dropped him from 13th to 17th in my rankings. We don’t yet know where Perez will be in these rankings, but I think it is totally reasonable for him to be over ten places ahead of Stroll, although he is nowhere near the top two over the whole season.

          1. Considering Perez car was always second in reciving upgraded parts. I strongly believe RP Car was about half of the seasson the 3rd best car, but not even close to be the 4th or 5th best team, and that cost Perez many results. For me Perez had a very remarcable seasson, with no mistakes at all other than contracting Covid 19. And before his engine exploded in Baharain he was the only driver along HAM to have scored in every race he started. He won a race with the oldest engine of the grid coming from the bottom, For me he has to be Third. He has the longest streak beating teammate in DC, in current F1 grid.

  3. Absolutely ridiculous that he’s been ranked behind Ocon and Kvyat.

    1. Yes, and he was arguably faster than Perez at the start of the season…

      1. Do you think it was because Stroll Jr. got first dibs on the newer parts in the beginning of the season as they only had enough for one car and Perez had to wait for the factory to produce more parts for both cars? At least, that’s the scuttlebutt

    2. If there the next 2 in the list then I think its fair enough but I agree both of those were equally anonymous and dominated by their teammates.

      1. Agreed – I wouldn’t have Stroll ranked much higher than this but he stacked up much better to his teammate than the other two and had more high points.

        Kvyat’s been nothing but a seat warmer since 2017, while Ricciardo pretty much conclusively ended any chance of Ocon ever making it to a top team.

    3. Both had very good back ends to the season. Kyvat turning Stroll turtle during Bahrain 1 was a masterstroke to ensure he finished ahead in this ranking.

  4. nepotism
    /ˈnɛpətɪz(ə)m/

    noun

    the practice among those with power or influence of favouring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs.

    1. Sonnycrockett, I think a well chosen user image in tune with your dictionary definition

      1. In fact, scratch that- on first sight I thought the person in the image was Piquet Jr (!)

        1. Miami Vice baby, where only the rich and good looking survive.

  5. Stephen Higgins
    18th January 2021, 12:24

    No excuse next year.

    1. Yes, he needs to destroy vettel or he’s out! Joking, it’s vettel who is in that position, as far as I’m concerned ofc, but then employers will turn a blind eye to his current form because damn, he won 4 titles with a great car and a weak team mate several years ago!

  6. Quite surprised to see so much distance between K-Mag and Romain. Ditto for Kimi and Giovinazzi.

    1. @wsrgo I get the feeling that I’m near the mark with my bet that, having seen Keith place Grosjean in 18th, Magnussen will be ranked in 14th place.

      Keith does seem to have a marked tendency in recent years to have given Magnussen very generous rankings relative to Grosjean – even giving Magnussen a fairly generous ranking in 2019 when his own article noted that Grosjean usually beat Magnussen in race trim. Some of the articles that Keith has written about Magnussen do suggest that he is keen on Magnussen, so there might be an element of personal bias.

      As for Kimi, I half wonder if that is because there were some fans on this site who used to complain fairly aggressively about Keith not ranking Kimi highly enough in their estimations, and thus he is perhaps bumping up his rankings to keep them quiet.

      1. No idea why Mag gets so much luv. His style of driving wasn’t (isn’t) productive for a F1 team.

    2. @wsrgo

      Agree. If Romain got #17, I don’t see how Magnussen can be ranked any better than #15. There wasn’t much to choose between them. I thought Kimi was much better than Gio on Sundays .. even though the scoreline might not reflect it.

  7. Stroll is an enigma. Two podiums and a pole position (together with an exceptional first half of the Turkish GP); but, he simply did not bag enough points over the season to ensure Racing Point took the pace-deserved P3 in the Constructors.

    On balance, I think 15th place is a bit, though not totally, undeserved.

    1. The thing with Stroll’s accomplishments is that it kinda feels there’s an asterisk behind each of them. His pole position was his best accomplishment I feel, even if it was due to a very smart strategy call on tires that session and a bit of luck that Perez didn’t get the perfect lap together. Otherwise it would’ve still been a very solid second or third starting position. But still, it’s mostly to the credit of Stroll that he ended up getting it over Perez, so it’s the best example of a good Stroll performance.

      Both podia I found not so much to his credit. The Italian podium should have been a win, and that he lost that to both AlphaTauri and McLaren is mind boggling. That was by all means a race win he lost. The Sakhir one was of course due to retirements, but once again, his teammate almost crashed and was last. While Stroll himself was 6th and somehow Perez ends up winning the race and Stroll finishes third. I don’t know, it just doesn’t really inspire much awe.

      1. @aiii is it really that “mind boggling” that Stroll “lost that to both AlphaTauri and McLaren” when the Italian Grand Prix was the most competitive race weekend that McLaren had in the whole of the 2020 season?

        Monza was a circuit that arguably played pretty well to the strengths of the McLaren chassis, and that showed up in McLaren having their best qualifying performance in the entire season at Monza and, compared to the races around that period, McLaren were proportionally closer to the front than normal. You might complain that the circumstances favoured Stroll, but it also worked out fairly nicely for those around him as well.

        1. Yes it is, if you consider that Stroll had all the luck in the world, the best starting position and then completely bottled his one chance at a race win by not only messing up the start itself, but messing up by missing the corner on the first lap and then not at any point being able to catch up to the Alpha and the McLaren.

          If you want to make an argument for McLaren being so amazing, I agree. And it’s to Gasly’s credit that he kept the McLaren off given the difference between an AlphaTauri and a McLaren at any given race, let alone this one. That difference doesn’t exist between the Racing Point and McLaren.

          That the circumstances were favorable for all involved doesn’t matter, what matters is how Stroll failed to take advantage and lost a race win. That podium isn’t a boon, it’s a failure.

          1. @aiii

            While Stroll was the one to have locked up, and he quite often has done this, commentators and myself have often thought that he will have to box to be able to continue, but even with flatspotted tyres, he still often manages to race pretty well. Given that, it probably was too much to expect for him to pass both Sainz and Gasly. But yea, he caused his lockup.

          2. @aiii whilst you say “That difference doesn’t exist between the Racing Point and McLaren.” when talking about their performance, the particular requirements of Monza and its low drag requirements were advantageous for the chassis philosophy that McLaren adopted in 2020.

            There were others who were noting how strong McLaren were in that race and how the circuit layout favoured them – Ricciardo, for example, talked about how impressed he was with McLaren’s performance in Monza, and indeed suggesting that he was surprised that Sainz didn’t win the race after the restart given the pace they’d showed throughout the weekend.

            Also, you say that Stroll “had all the luck in the world”, but it was pointed out in Keith’s article on the Italian GP that the safety car and the red flag period afterwards was an even bigger stroke of luck for Gasly.

            Firstly, with the yellow flag and the pit lane closure coming just after he’d pitted, Gasly actually gained more positions through that period than Stroll did – Gasly was the second biggest winner in that phase, and only Kimi made up even more time and places than Gasly did.

            Secondly, it was pointed out that, when the red flag came, that then gave Gasly a free tyre change, allowing him to switch from his hard tyres onto medium tyres. That change meant that Gasly went from a possible disadvantage on the hard tyres to actually having a tyre life advantage over his rivals, as he was the only one with a brand new set of medium tyres available for the restart.

            If you’re saying that Stroll “got all the luck” – why doesn’t that also apply to other drivers in that race as well, and especially to Gasly?

          3. @anon I never said it doesn’t apply to the others. I said Stroll is the only one to bottle it and throw his opportunity away. Stroll also had, by far, the most advantage from the events at Italy which put him in the de facto lead at the race restart. Going further, in fact, Stroll has had three races this year he could have potentially won, but even being generous and disregarding Sakhir as an unlikely win, he lost both Turkey and Italy all seemingly to his own failure, those races he should have won, and then didn’t. Not because of anyone else, not because of circumstance, not because he was crashed into, or because the team put his teammates tires on his car, or because others were great at defending a late challenge from him. Just because he made errors and didn’t finish the job.

            You can keep pointing to other drivers if you want, but we’re evaluating Stroll’s performance here, and I find it hard to see an argument where Stroll did not underperform this season as a whole and in Monza in particular.

  8. Much more improved season by Stroll up until Monza. He was ahead of Perez in the championship and was quite close in the qualifying battle. In fact he had beaten Perez in the race head to head i think, up until that point I would have kept Stroll in the team purely on merit instead of Perez.

    But something happened after that Monza perhaps the tyre failure at Mugello wrecked his confidence or COVID-19 handicapped his abilities slightly (some people do take longer to shrug off the symptoms).

    By Turkey it appeared as if he’d got back to the form he showed earlier but some bad luck in the remaining races denied him from showing that. Firstly front wing damage in Turkey denied him a fairytale win on a day he was truly on song. He got taken out by Kvyat in Bahrain (potential points lost). At Sakhir he got on the podium which is not bad its decent (Perez was on another level that day, in fact i think had Verstappen even been in the race it wouldnt have made a difference). Finally at Abu Dhabi he struggled with engine difficulties as experienced by all Mercedes powered cars that weekend which denied him a possible 7th/8th in my opinion.

    1. @fish123 Engine difficulties for him nor the team were never directly mentioned anywhere over the Abu Dhabi GP weekend. He was just slow, couldn’t get past future-teammate Vettel, and eventually lost out to both Gasly and Ocon in the process.

      1. @jerejj

        Unlike Perez, his engine will have been well past it’s best and Mercedes themselves had to restrict their engines, so it wouldn’t have been surprising if Stroll had the same thing with his too would it? But yea, we can’t be sure about that. But we do know that his engine won’t have been at it’s best.

        Also, he did lose several seconds in the pit stop due to Sainz driving too slowly, but that wasn’t really related to his own performance, it just possibly cost him 9th.

        1. Perez got an older engine installed, if I am not mistaken @thegianthogweed. But yes, all Mercedes engined cars were turned down somewhat in Abu Dhabi it seems.

          Still, It did look like Stroll lost some of his mojo after about mid season and just never got into that groove again, not making important overtakes, and instead being overtaken when it mattered or just not getting as much speed out of the car as Perez was in the second half of hte year.

          1. @bascb Perez is reported as having a new engine, turbocharger and MGU-H fitted to his car in Abu Dhabi – the original plan was to use an old one, but they eventually decided against it because some of the components were showing signs of excessive wear.

            I think that yourself and @jerejj have also forgotten that Stroll had one of his engines written off in Mugello – that did mean that he had to run the final 8 races of the season, including the practice sessions, on the same engine.

            Although his DNS at the Nurburgring did allow the team to eke a bit more out of the engine, it was reported at the time that he was very marginal on engine life by Abu Dhabi, to the point the team were worried it might fail in the same way that Perez’s engine failed in Bahrain and it was causing a noticeable loss in power (Autosport, for example, reported on that issue).

          2. @anon The DNS at Nurburgring didn’t make a difference as Hulkenberg used his PU element allocation. Zero difference in how much the team could take out of the engine. Temporary driver changes don’t impact these things.

        2. @bascb
          If Perez used an old (or older) engine, what was the reason for the penalty to start right at the back? The change was planned by the look of it given he didn’t try in qualifying.

          If it was switching back to an engine he’d already used, then he should have had the penalty for it when he first used it, which he didn’t. So I think the penalty was for a brand new engine, or we have both misunderstood and it is something else.

          But yea Stroll did not seem to do very well in the 2nd half.

          1. @thegianthogweed He got a new engine, TC, and MGU-H for the Abu Dhabi GP.
            @bascb

          2. Thanks for clearing that up @jerejj. My mistake then!

  9. Jose Lopes da Silva
    18th January 2021, 13:12

    In the right conditions, every driver can produce excellent performances. Pastor Maldonado is a Grand Prix Winner.

    1. And Hulk has not a single podium. Id expect 10 years the conditions would’ve been right at least once

      1. Jose Lopes da Silva
        18th January 2021, 15:35

        Put Stroll in the car whenever it rains in qualifying and give the car to Hulk in the other 20 races. He out-qualifies Stroll anyway.

        1. Ahah, that’s a good idea, swap drivers based on their strengths.

        2. But if you want a Podium you’ll have to put Stroll or maybe Perez in the car.

          Hulkenberg would be ok if your content with fourth every race… Get it? Cuz he can never finish on the Podium anyways

    2. And has also a GP2 title.

  10. I know this is pointless, but in Monza, he would’ve likely won had a rolling restart been used instead of a standing one (which should be the case to avoid creating unnecessary artificial randomness), which unfairly penalized him. He, of course, also lost other chances for good points without being at fault. Maybe this year, he gets better luck.

    1. someone or something
      18th January 2021, 18:16

      @jerejj

      I know this is pointless

      That’s one step in the right decision. Just one more step missing: Realising the following statement …

      he would’ve likely won had a rolling restart been used instead of a standing one […], which unfairly penalized him

      … is simply wrong.
      There is nothing inherently unfair about a standing restart. Everyone gets the same opportunities, for better or for worse.

      If one were to complain about randomness, what about the situation that shook up the grid in the first place? The factor that got Stroll, Gasly, and the Saubers ahead of almost everyone else wasn’t skill or strategy, it was random luck.
      Contrast this with accelerating from a standstill to the first corner at least as fast as the other cars around you. That’s not random or unusual, it’s a core aspect of racing.

      1. someone or something
        18th January 2021, 18:17

        That’s one step in the right decision.

        Direction, not decision.

      2. @someone or something Seb also regarded standing restarts similar way in Mugello. Both Monza and Mugello showed that traditional rolling starts following a stoppage are the way to go. They also allow things to get going faster, meaning lower overall race times.

        1. someone or something
          19th January 2021, 13:47

          @jerejj
          Yeah, I get it, you’re against standing restarts*.
          But you keep saying the one in Monza was somehow unfair to Stroll. Which. It. Wasn’t. If you could just drop that piece of nonsense, that’d be fine by me.

          * Which, in principle, is a legitimate position, and I’m inclined to agree with it. (However, I struggle to comprehend how you can keep a straight face while bringing up Mugello as an example for the superiority of rolling restarts …)

  11. His race pace is ok at best and he can’t overtake if the ideal conditions aren’t given to him.

    Numerous times during the season Perez came from the back, overtook him and the one holding him and went into the distance to get the result that should’ve been his.

    Stroll’s major merit is that for some reason he’s always able to collect results that are above his performance on eventful races.

    All his podiums were like that. Something had to happen for him to be there.

    His true best performance of the season was the decent race at hungaroring. A confortable 4th place that could be a 3rd in the hands of a more competitive driver.

    His 75 points actually flatter him as that for most of the time he was racing on the lower part of the top 10 for lesser results. Performance-wise he shouldn’t even be on the podium last year, with the 3rd fastest car. That’s how good he is.

  12. Gavin Campbell
    18th January 2021, 14:29

    I think the problem with Stroll is that he’s so bemusingly inconsistent. The pressure starts to pile onto him about whether he should be in the car and then he will pull out a genuinley world class performance. But this only happens a few times a season but he seems to have the talent to outperform the car in places.

    He’s still quite young at 22 but already 4 seasons down after an enormous private testing regime before entering F1. However I feel if he had spent 2 seasons in F2 instead of at Williams it might of been better for him and I do believe he would of had the talent to be in the championship hunt in F2.

    It strikes me like a lack of focus/desire but you don’t see stories about him running round Monaco or falling out of nightclubs. Also there is an awful lock of praise from the management of Lance when its not really warrented – the tail is wagging the dog there. Longer term I don’t believe thats in anyones best interests.

    1. I think what you write make a lot of sense there Gavin.

      I guess we can all hope to see Stroll further developing and becoming a better, more consistent performer.

  13. Recency bias is at play here. Let’s recap what the score was like at mid-season:

    So far, Stroll has outscored Pérez on points, with the Canadian having 57 points to his name, to his teammate’s 44. If Pérez was well, assuming he could not have started the British Grand Prix due to the clutch failure, and had finished seventh at the 70th Anniversary GP, same as Hülkenberg, he still would be on 50 points, only seven adrift from Stroll.

    1. someone or something
      18th January 2021, 18:37

      @paeschli
      You make a strong case for stopping the Pérez hype train. This clearly wasn’t the Mexican driver’s strongest season, but the aforementioned recency bias and the wretched conflation of singular results and performances saw his stocks skyrocket.

      However, this has nothing to do with Stroll. The point stands, he had yet another underwhelming, inconsistent season over the course of which he was clearly inferior to his team mate, and also usually scrapping for positions against cars that were nowhere near his Racing Point’s level of competitiveness.

    2. How is that a knock against Perez?
      Stroll was up 13 points by mid-season only to finish 50 (!!) points behind Perez once the season’s over. That’s not good! At all!

      Danny Ric and Sainz had a better season than Perez, yes, but all three of them are miles ahead of Stroll.

      1. Yes, but in the last few races Stroll was robbed of a possible win (Turkey) and at least a very good possible result (Bahrain) through no fault of his own where his team mate scored second and first.
        So he scored less points. Not good, or not lucky?

  14. I think it’s fair to say he’s not a terrible F1 driver. There have certainly been worse. Personally I find the nepotism and money that has oiled his career a bit distasteful but he’s obviously got a decent ability.

    He has no consistency. He has a good race where he performs well and then a few races where he achieves little. That’s not bad though, a lot of F1 drivers are simply ‘good’ – they plug away, get good points, have anonymous weekends and then have one or two fantastic results. Stroll seems to fall into this category. The only thing that bugs me is that there are drivers that are categorically superior in ability while he’s largely hung around in a seat that’s almost totally guaranteed for him regardless of whether he finishes first or last.

    Specifically this year, he had the car but didn’t get the best use of it. I think he threw away a lot of good positions, and had too many weekends where he just didn’t show up. He’s been around long enough not to give him the rookie excuse.

  15. He got comprehensively beaten by a midfield driver – it’s hard to rate him much higher than 15th.

    1. By ‘a midfield driver’ do you mean Perez or Hulkenberg?

    2. Perez is not a midfield driver. He’s driven midfield cars. That’s different. By the same token Lando Norris is a midfield driver

  16. János Henkelmann
    18th January 2021, 15:34

    How can Lance Stroll who put his car (supposedly only the 3rd fastest on the grid) on pole in treacherous conditions against rainmasters Hamilton and Verstappen be so low on your list?

    I don’t even like the guy, but seriously?

    1. Probably because the season lasted 17 races, not a ten-minute wet session.

    2. Because a season is made up of more than a single qualifying session (also based on Perez’s pace the RP on the inter tyre was the best car to be in for those particular track conditions).

    3. Initially, I thought I would rate him higher… maybe around #12. But .. after going through Keith’s explanations, it kind of makes sense why he’s ranked so low.
      Just 5 top 6 finishes in a car that should have regularly fighting for a top 6 finish.
      Two lucky podiums, including a P3 obtained from throwing a way a win that he was gifted in the first place.
      Again out qualified by a driver who’s strength isn’t qualifying.
      No remarkable or outstanding drives other than a pole position in Turkey, which finished in a P9 finish, while his teammate bagged P2 with a P3 grid slot.

      I still think Lance was better than Kvyat this season. I would maybe rate Lance at #14

  17. Stroll is better than 15th. And deserves better than most of us give him. He was clearly Top 10 amongst the drivers in the first half of the season, and then was less good in the 2nd half, but had some bad luck, too.

    1. no, he isn’t. He is most likely the worst there, or close to that. What he has is a rich dad that loves him too much.

      1. The worst there? Stop exaggeratinng. Stroll is a solid but not elite driver. #15 is too low for his performance in 2020 but he’s not top 10 either.

        1. You think he is “solid” because he had plenty of opportunities to show any quality.

          Tell me, do you really think he’s better than former drivers like Kvyat, Grosjean and magnussen?

          He’s so average that he was overall slower than sirotkin, another pay driver. If both had another season together i’d put all my money on the russian.

          Maybe he’s better than latifi, i’ll give you that.

    2. @magon4
      All the drivers in the top 10 would have finished at the expected level of their machinery or higher. Lance finished the season in P11 with the 3rd fastest car on the grid. There’s no way he was ever going to make the top 10 this year. A couple of flash in the pan performances aren’t enough to cover up for a season of underperformance again.

    3. He had to be there so that British drivers can all be Top 10. That’s what everyone wants, doesn’t it?

  18. A point to put out there- is Kimi really deserving of being above Stroll? Apart from the start of the Portugal race, I’m struggling to remember anything that particularly stood him apart from his 16th place ranked teammate.

    1. commentsandstuff
      18th January 2021, 23:22

      He had several stints racing in midfield and taking on midfield teams in a car that does not belong in the midfield. He was also the second best Ferrari driver so to speak and on occasions outraced both works Ferrari. Though to be honest, I don’t think Kimi should rank top 10, he is definitely between 15 and 10 for me (I am placing it at 13 or 12 at best). I am surprise at Stroll is ranked this low. Was expecting him slightly higher.

      1. Thanks. I’ll cast my mind back across the season and remind myself of some of his better moments

  19. I’m not Stroll’s biggest fan but this feels a bit unfair. A very glass-half-empty report. Very inconvenient for all his haters that he has these glimmers of great driving, like the Turkey pole (and much of the race).

    All this “third fastest car should be beating seventh fastest car” business badly overlooks just how tight and competitive the midfield is. The “seventh fastest car” was actually pretty close to Racing Point by this site’s own workings.

    1. someone or something
      18th January 2021, 18:50

      The “seventh fastest car” was actually pretty close to Racing Point by this site’s own workings.

      By this site’s own workings, the seventh fastest car was on average 0.46% slower than the Racing Point, which corresponds to roughly 4 tenths of a second over an average qualifying lap.
      That ain’t close for F1 standards.

  20. @keithcollantine I think you meant to say Stroll missed one less race than Perez?

    That was partly reflected in the 50-point gap between them at the end of the season, which probably flattered Stroll, who missed one more race than Perez.

  21. Keith, I almost always agree with you but, here, I tend to disagree. I think that Kvyat and Ocon showed a worse performance than Stroll. Stroll had a superb performance in Hungary in both dry and wet conditions. In Mugello he had a Strong race till the crash. I don’t recall a remarkable performance by Kvyat. Imola was decent but was outperformed by his “less experienced” teammate heavily until the latter retired and his double overtaking after the yellow flag, while good, was because Albon blocked Perez and left wide space on the other side for Kvyat. Ocon, in turn, went unnoticed the full season. His podium in Sakhir was a result that was meant to be – a function of strategy benefitting from free tyre choice. But he didn’t show anything special there. So, Kvyat 15th, Ocon 14th, Stroll 13th and Bottas 12th ?

  22. Stroll was An Impostor.
    Stroll was not An Impostor.

  23. Norris was not An Impostor. 2 Impostors remain.
    Impostors (Stroll, Ocon) win.

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