Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2024

“My tyres are dying”: Stroll’s short-lived struggle until he hit the wall

Formula 1

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After a solid start to his season in Bahrain, Lance Stroll endured a Saudi Arabian Grand Prix which was as tough as it was brief.

The Aston Martin driver visibly struggled for grip in the opening laps of the race, rapidly lost touch with the cars ahead, then crashed at the same corner he’d hit the wall two days earlier.

In an extremely close qualifying session, Stroll secured a place in the top 10 with team mate Fernando Alonso. However for the second weekend running he failed to improve on his Q1 time in subsequent sessions. He lined up in 10th place, six places off his team mate and seven-tenths of a second slower.

“I think we might have had some issues in Q3,” he said afterwards. “We need to investigate it.

“The car felt a bit tricky and then I lost some time in the final sector – which is basically just straights – on my last Q3 lap. We need to look into why we weren’t able to go any quicker after Q1 – we were much better at the start of qualifying than at the end.”

Stroll spent all of his brief race under attack
Both Aston Martins took the start on the medium tyre compound. But their races diverged almost immediately.

Alonso, has he predicted, found it hard to keep his AMR23 among the front-runners. Oscar Piastri picked him off with ease.

But Stroll was having an tougher time: So much so he was slower than Alonso even on the lap his team mate was overtaken. He complained to race engineer Ben Michell about his power unit “de-rating” – running out of electrical energy on the straights. This was likely caused by him using the maximum available power for too long as his scrapped for positions in the midfield at the start:

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Lap: 1/50 STR: 1’42.429
Stroll De-rating like crazy.
Michell Copy. Copy. Hamilton ahead medium, Tsunoda behind medium. Keep using the K0, that’s going to help you.
Michell DRS will be out of 19 this lap. You need K0, the energy button usage is high.
Lap: 2/50 STR: 1’36.094
Michell K0 as much as you can, mate.
Michell Tsunoda one behind. Keeping doing the K0 mate the pack’s coming back.
Michell Okay. The pack’s good. Think about plus on brake balance. Tsunoda 1.1 behind, Hamilton 1.8 in front.
Michell Tsunoda 0.9 behind. has DRS. Think about your lift-and-coast and sector one management.
Lap: 3/50 STR: 1’35.790
Michell This is good. Keep doing the management. Think about the brake balance.

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However Stroll’s greater problem was his tyres, which he was struggling to get up to temperature. He immediately fell out of DRS range of Lewis Hamilton ahead and had his hands full keeping Yuki Tsunoda behind:

Lap: 4/50 STR: 1’35.735
Michell Tsunoda 0.9, has DRS again. He’s got pressure from Bearman.
Stroll Fucking tyres are struggling, man.
Michell Yeah. Take it easy man, it’s the same for everybody. Tsunoda has DRS but he’s not getting too close. 0.9.
Michell You’ve got late press available to defend.
Lap: 5/50 STR: 1’35.560
Stroll Entry seven, mid seven. Okay, we need K0 now Lance. Keep doing it. Good defence. Come on. I think there’s a space in my.

Within five laps Stroll lost eight seconds to his team mate and still had Tsunoda’s RB all over his rear wing. He warned his race engineer again he was losing pace.

The turn 22 apex wall caught Stroll out two days earlier during the first practice session of the weekend. On the occasion he clipped the wall but was able to return to the pits for repairs.

In the grand prix he wasn’t so fortunate. Stroll made much heavier contract with the wall, breaking his front-left suspension and sending him into the wall:

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Lap: 6/50
Stroll This is just shit pace and my tyres are dying
Stroll Hit the wall.
Michell Okay, can you bring it back, Lance?
Stroll No I’m in the [censored by FOM] wall.
Stroll Okay Lance car is safe. Car is safe. P0 reminder before you jump out, Lance. P0 reminder. Car is safe.

This was Stroll’s second heavy crash in the space of 10 race weekends. In Singapore last year he suffered a major shunt in qualifying which ruled him out of the rest of the event.

On this occasion he was unhurt and will be back in Australia next week, where he scored his best finish of the season 12 months ago. After his tough Jeddah weekend, while Alonso took a strong fifth, Stroll needs a good result in Melbourne again.

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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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36 comments on ““My tyres are dying”: Stroll’s short-lived struggle until he hit the wall”

  1. He should try to learn how to keep his tyres on temperature ….

  2. Let’s be honest, none of us could hope to be within a second of Fernando Alonso. So Stroll is clearly not a bad driver, but at the same time he is long overdue a reality check. It’s not going to be any better than it has been, not this year, not next year, and not at any other time. He’s hit his ceiling long ago, and it’s not the kind of performance Aston Martin needs in this tight spot on the grid, where they can expect to be racing the likes of Norris, Hamilton, Russell, and so on.

    Stroll would be an asset to many other teams in many different series. And if he doesn’t want to race elsewhere; he’s only 25.

    1. Archibald Bumfluff
      14th March 2024, 13:53

      Look what Fernando Alonso did to Stoffle Vandoorne.

      He made him look like a chump, and now he’s a champ in another series.

    2. I’ve never driven an F1 car. So it’s safe to assume I couldn’t match Fernando Alonso. So Lance is a better F1 driver than I, someone who never tried to do that (nor could buy his seat, or a whole team).
      That still doesn’t change the fact that he was always the slower driver, at all times (he was closely matched with that Russian rookie, Sirotkin or whatever, but I’m sure that would change eventually; besides that guy was never considered a real talent).
      If I had the chance Lance have had, maybe I’d do better; how do you know? That’s a moot point.
      He’s being destroyed by Alonso, literally destroyed, but fair enough, Alonso is one of the greats. Too bad that the same thing happened with his other team mates.
      I remember how Checo used to overtake him in the same car, with much older, slower tires; and with ease. Not once, that happened twice in a season. Same Checo Perez who barely finishes races within the same lap as his current teammate, on average. And let’s not forget Hulkenberg, coming back after 2 years long break as a replacement on a short notice, without any preparation, and being faster immediately.
      I’m sorry, but we’re talking about a guy that was never wanted by any team, not he’s ever considered for any seat. He had to finance Williams to get his drive, and then to buy another team to keep driving in F1. Who cares if he’s a decent driver, if every other driver is better than him? It’s a sport. If he was a football team, he’d be losing 9 out of 10 games, with average score of 0:5 or something; celebrating each draw like he won a World Cup.

      1. I’m sorry, but we’re talking about a guy that was never wanted by any team, not he’s ever considered for any seat. He had to finance Williams to get his drive, and then to buy another team to keep driving in F1. Who cares if he’s a decent driver, if every other driver is better than him? It’s a sport.

        Because despite all that, he’s actually not that bad.

        Alonso gave him the run around last year, sure. His average result (9th) was significantly worse than Alonso (6th) and he should have been able to take at least one podium with that car. But in the three years prior, two with Vettel and one with Pérez, those average finishing results were an exact match (11th in 2022 and 2023, and 7th in 2020). Some of that is the ceiling of the car, absolutely. But we’ve seen plenty of drivers in F1 who were so much worse.

        Hitting the inside of a corner is kinda goofy. But it’s a super close thing, as even Verstappen noted when he said how dangerous and tricky this track is. And it’s not like nobody else does this; Leclerc and even world champions like Räikkönen have in recent times. I’m sure there are others.

        Stroll gets a lot of stick, and while some of it is fair, there’s also a general antipathy towards the guy that’s based on his family’s wealth, his social awkwardness, and other things that aren’t really part of the game. So while I totally agree that Stroll should move on, let’s not overlook that there are plenty of other drivers who aren’t doing much better, and some who are arguably doing even worse. I mean; Pérez wasn’t even on the podium in more than half the races last year … in a Red Bull!

        1. Yes, I agree, in general stroll is certainly one of the first drivers who should be replaced, for example by bearman, in a world where performance is the only thing that matters, but there are more around his levels who should go at the same time, perez like you said wasn’t much better, if at all last season, magnussen also not very impressive, ricciardo in recent times not impressive at all.

          1. Unfortunately “in a world where performance is the only thing that matters” doesn’t apply to F1 a lot of the time. And Stroll is just 1 example. I’m confused at why you would even say that especially when an example is right in front of you.

        2. Some good perspective there, Michael. I feel that if he seemed to care more or try harder, the wealth aspect wouldn’t play such a big role.

          Others should remember about 65% of the field come from very wealthy families and/or connections. Basically, Fernando, Lewis and Ocon are the only ones I know didn’t have $ or connections helping them. I never heard of Hulkenberg having any special connections, but I am not sure.

    3. Anyone who has been given 145 races in an F1 car should be a good driver with all of that experience. You could pick any driver from F2 or F3, give them 145 races in F1 and they’d come out the other end at a similar level to Stroll – many would be better.

      1. Yes, many drivers of stroll’s talent wouldn’t get 145 races to get experience to become better, mick schumacher didn’t and based on his improvement during the 2nd season I’m sure he’d be at least a bit better than stroll given as many races.

    4. By the same measure, Alonso could never hold a candle to the quality and complexity of the code I wrote for the program I’ve been developing for the past two years.

      You can’t compare yourself to Alonso as much as Alonso couldn’t compare himself to you. A great surgeon and a great F1 driver are two different things, though either might be impressive. That leaves us with comparing Alonso to other driver and vice versa based on what they’ve actually shown us.

      Stroll just showed us himself hitting the same wall in the almost the exact same manner twice in a weekend. One of only two drivers to hit a wall and break their car in only three such incidents all weekend. Before the season Stroll said he “does his talking on the track.” But so far it’s been more of a mumble.

      1. You assume Fernando cannot write complex code. You do not know.

        1. I also assumed I couldn’t drive F1 like he does. I do not know that either, but I can make a very reasonable assumption on both.

          1. I’m pretty sure you’re better than Alonso. I just have a gut feeling. And, as Obergruppenführer Marko’s head driver scout, I know my stuff.

        2. @steve naive

          Sometimes I wish I could remove my responses. Do you ever think that?

        3. Alonso writes advanced AI code. He was also critical in building in his first F1 car (no joke). He spent 4 weeks straight wrenching on his 2001 Minardi to ensure it was ready for Australia. Dude’s been around that long.

          It shows the difference between Alonso and Vettel that Stroll looked pretty solid in the same car. Fernando also shut out Kimi in quali and races (except for I think Spa due to a puncture for Fernando) while the next season Kimi and Seb kept trading 4th in the WDC behind Ricciardo despite Seb always being given preferential strategy.

          Speaking of Ricciardo, some crazy stats:
          -He has more wins than anyone currently in F1 besides Lewis, Max and Fernando
          -He has more wins than Leclerc + Sainz combined
          -He has more wins than Russell, Perez and Norris ; ) combined
          -Finally, he edged Max in their points and quali battle over three seasons together, which makes me laugh at the narrative that Max is the untouchable great of all time of F1 past, present & current.

          …yet he’s still currently driving as badly as a K-Mag or latter day Bottas level driver, unless Yuki is much faster than we think since they’ve been basically glued together in the first two races including SA despite a 41 second pit stop in SA. Wasn’t 2021 the first year of the new generation car? Maybe he’s unable to deal with this generation of car as a whole.

    5. In the years since Stroll joined F1, it has been utterly dominated by Red Bull, Mercedes, and Ferrari, so no drivers outside that clique have looked particularly good. Stroll is second only to Max Verstappen in the table of youngest drivers to get an F1 podium, so he showed early promise, but he has failed to live up to that promise. Perhaps the truth is he was brought into F1 far too young and inexperienced and would have done much better if his father had bought an F2 team instead and given him more experience at racing in competitve machinery.

      1. You obviously did not really followed the xareerpath of lance.
        His father bought him experience, driving a last years f1 williams on all possible teacks. His f2 path was special too.
        Nooe, lance has all the advantages and his early podium was as much unexpected for us as for him.
        Nevertheless, he sometimes shibes. His rainraces are good. His starting often good with occasional massive faults.
        In short, a mediocre driver with lots of money.

        1. He did have a lot of special experience. OTH, Kimi’s points ratio and finishing results in 2014 vs Alonso, was nearly identical to Stroll’s in 2023. Regardless, we KNOW there are drivers who could do better. The Hulk or even maybe Yuki or Drugovich would make a nice teammate for Fernando if he doesn’t get the Merc seat.

      2. Like “Piquet Racing”?
        I wonder if Daddy’s new sportscar team could be the next move (although a car called Valkyrie is crying out for Bottas)

  3. It was because of the weighbridge?

  4. Stroll is a wall magnet.

  5. All those excuses would’ve mean something if he had oversteered out, but he hit the wall on the inside…

    It was all on his own. It’s an unfortunate error anyway, the contact was minimal, he was clearly driving at the limit, so nothing against Lance this time.

  6. Brad should’ve realized before asking, especially as he’d already said what had happened.

  7. A wasted seat. How everyone just accepts this nepotism in F1 as totally normal is beyond me.

    No other world class sport would allow such underperformance just because they’re the team owners son.

    1. If there’s anything I learnt about f1 over the years, it’s money above everything. Since lawrence has several billions you know who gets the last word.

      1. You just said above “in a world where performance is the only thing that matters” then 5 minutes later it’s money above everything? Make up your mind.

    2. How everyone just accepts this nepotism in F1 as totally normal is beyond me.

      Probably two main reasons for most people – first; that it happens in every kind of business whether the family/friendship connection is through ownership, management or merely existing employment (referrals are a massive advantage), and second; because F1, as a huge money business with limited/difficult entry, is the most likely place for it to happen. Comparable to the farming/primary production industry, in that sense.

      Is F1 primarily a “world class sport” or a business? You might want it to be sport, but that doesn’t make it so.
      It does happen in other ‘sports’ too, anyway – motorsport just happens to be the most susceptible to it due to the scale of money required for participation.
      The discrimination in motorsport isn’t gender, ethnicity or family related – it’s financial.

  8. My tyres are dying

    Well that’s what usually happens when you bang then into a wall

  9. Wonder how long before Aston Martin’s investors put an ultimatum on Papa Stroll regarding this liability.

    1. And if the response to that ultimatum is to withdraw an enormous amount of funding from the entire company…?
      Aston Martin could easily go bankrupt. Again.

      Lawrence Stroll and his friends are far more beneficial to Aston Martin as whole than Lance is a negative to the race team.
      Bigger picture…

    2. If he has a controlling stake in the team, is there anything they can actually do besides threaten to sell their stake and make the team look silly in the press. It may come down more to how much $ is Lawrence willing to make between any shortfall due to sponsors leaving or reducing their investment in the team over his participation.

      The thing that bothers me is how much Lance seems to take the seat for granted and how we see and hear of no effort he makes to either improve his driving or make any special efforts in working with the factory or marketing efforts to compensate for how badly he does.

      1. pretty much this, you got a guy like Vettel who got sidelined for Lance, and then its like, oh well. Vomit. This only tells me that Lance doesn’t want to race anymore, and Lance’s dad is on the hook. But the new formula isn’t till 2026, so WTH. 2 more years of Lance not caring ? Bro needs to get a podium or find the end of the earth, soon.

  10. curious like a cat
    16th March 2024, 6:24

    This is not important at all, but why is one of Stroll’s three quoted swears marked “censored by FOM”? As far as I can tell from other sources, it was just the same seven-letter word again.

    1. Wherever a message was played uncensored, it’s transcribed uncensored. Where a message was only played censored, we acknowledge that it was censored. Yes, it’s fairly obvious what he actually said but we can’t be certain about it because it was censored.

      The censored message was not played at all on F1 TV due to a fairly recent change in how they broadcast the onboard feeds which we covered here last year. it was played, but censored, on the world feed.

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