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Opinion

How do you solve a problem like Lance Stroll?

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Roar Guru
28th October, 2020
8

Last weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix wasn’t exactly Lance Stroll’s finest hour.

On lap 18, the Canadian made contact with Lando Norris when trying to overtake the McLaren driver around the outside at turn 1, for which he received a five-second time penalty.

Then, on lap 30, Stroll received another five-second time penalty for exceeding track limits too many times.

And so Stroll, who could be considered to be the most controversial driver currently on the Formula One grid, continues to generate controversy.

Now, credit where credit’s due, Stroll has improved this year and has picked up the strong points finishes that the Racing Point deserves with fourth-place finishes at the Hungarian and Spanish Grands Prix and a podium finish at Monza.

However, while the record book may say that Lance Stroll finished third in the 2020 Italian Grand Prix and so can be used in Stroll’s defence, it masks the fact that he botched the second standing start after the red flag and, as a result, failing to seize the opportunity presented to him by gaining a free pit stop on his rivals having not pitted before the red flag period.

It’s an example of how Stroll’s poor performance at the Portuguese Grand Prix is not an isolated one.

Bar a few flashes of brilliance, he has consistently underperformed in his time at Racing Point, especially when compared to his teammate, Sergio Perez.

There is no question that Stroll’s seat at Racing Point is protected by his father, Lawrence Stroll’s ownership of the team.

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We must be careful not to tag Stroll as a pay driver because the likes of Haas and Williams, who are in financial strife, need drivers who can provide financial support to the team.

However, we should pick up on what Gunther Steiner said last week, “Talent always needs to be there, not only money.”

Based on that, how can it be just that an experienced and talented driver like Sergio Perez, who has significant financial backing, is forced to leave Racing Point because Sebastian Vettel is joining and Lance Stroll’s seat is non-negotiable?

Meantime, a driver like Alexander Albon, who is struggling to keep tabs with his teammate, Max Verstappen, has been put on the chopping block by fans for several weeks, despite putting in some great drives during his time at Red Bull.

Lance Stroll

Lance Stroll. Good name for a driver. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

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Stroll supporters are using the same argument that Albon supporters have used in the past but, while the writing’s on the wall for Albon, that’s far from the case for Stroll.

If Stroll continues not to deliver on his potential, he will continue to be considered as a driver who is only in Formula One because his dad owns Racing Point.

Reflecting on a century of articles for The Roar
Forgive me for blowing my own trumpet but this is my 100th article for The Roar, a milestone that I would like to dedicate some column inches to.

To the editors and everyone behind the scenes, thanks for your support over the past year and a half, for allowing me to share my ideas and get my articles published.

And to the Roarers, we may not always see eye-to-eye but that’s the fun of it all. Thanks for some engaging conversations where I have had to keep my eye on the ball in order not to slip up!

Onwards and upwards in pursuit of the double century!