F1 Winter Break
Baptism of Fire: Lance Stroll needs a clean weekend and points to settle into F1
Lance Stroll
Posted By: James Allen  |  19 Apr 2017   |  2:47 pm GMT  |  178 comments

Three races into the new F1 season and 18 year old Lance Stroll is still looking for a break. He’s failed to finish all three races and has completed just 52 of the 170 racing laps.

It’s prompting some to question whether his move straight to F1 from FIA F3 was the right thing to do or whether he would have benefitted from more preparation time and experience; for example racing against Charles Leclerc and his ilk in what looks like a terrific FIA F2 series this year.

Max Verstappen made the move straight from F3 to F1 and thrived, but he is an exceptional talent with an old head on young shoulders. Should Stroll have had more time to mature, so that he could come in and show what he can do with better odds of success?

With so much to learn and F1 being an unforgiving environment, the danger is that the pressure of racing in a car expected to score points at every round as well as not having the F1 database to ‘make things happen’ for himself, will begin to tell.

By virtue of his backing and his father’s influence in F1, he is more in control of his situation than some of the Red Bull juniors, like Jaime Alguersuari, who were pitched into the fray too soon, as teenagers by Dr Marko, on a strictly ‘sink or swim’ basis.

But F1 is not a finishing school, as the saying goes, and he doesn’t want to be in this position any longer than is absolutely necessary.

He’s clearly a good driver; whatever the tales doing the rounds of the advantages his wealth has brought him with facilities and developments not available to other drivers in karting and F3, he won the championship comprehensively and has always had his eye on establishing himself as an F1 driver.

So where does it go from here?

Lance Stroll

How’s it been going, Lance?

He managed to qualify 10th in China, 7/10ths slower than team mate Felipe Massa, while in Bahrain he trimmed that to 6/10ths and lined up 12th. The races have been the real problem, with a brake problem after 40 laps in Australia, then a collision in China at the start and another in Bahrain which was judged by stewards to be 100% Carlos Sainz’ fault, but which wrecked Stroll’s race.

He had made an early stop and was running at the back when Sainz hit him.

Speaking to F1.com at the Bahrain test he said, “What I really want is the end of that streak of poor luck – then I think many things are possible.

“I am still watching and learning. It’s not so much the difficulty of Formula One, but the difference of Formula One versus everything that I have done so far. When you come here the tyres seem almost a closed book and you have to open it and learn to read it. Then, of course, you have to learn the little tricks of the trade – for example, what it takes to makes the tyres happy. And that is why a day like Tuesday is so important – when you are not limited on runs. It is working round to getting to the maximum with my capability as a racing driver.

“Surviving in F1 I would say is 90 percent mental capability. When you are not mentally able to get over things you are in the wrong sport.

“There is nothing you can compare these cars with. It’s like nothing that you’ve ever been driving, so it is also much about the right technique – how to handle these cars right. They are real beasts!”

Lance Stroll

What’s the conclusion then?

A nice clean weekend in Sochi or Spain, with some points to settle the nerves and allow him to bed into his new role as a Grand Prix driver are what is required.

He certainly has the car for it; the Williams is at the front of the midfield pack, with a performance advantage over the Force India, Haas, Renault and Toro Rosso cars, although the Renault has started to look very quick in qualifying recently, but not matched that in race pace.

So it’s all there to be done and in many ways it needs to be done as Williams is a team in recent years that has been used to finishing in the top five in the Constructors’ Championship. It was 3rd in 2014. They cannot finish there with only one car scoring points against rivals like Force India, Toro Rosso and Renault. The pressure is going to come onto Stroll soon.

Massa has performed well so far, with two sixth places giving Williams fifth place in the table.

But it’s hard for him without a yardstick like Valtteri Bottas alongside him. He doesn’t have the pace to challenge the Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes cars and so is set for a lonely year of expecting to be around 7th in qualifying and race unless something happens to any of the top six drivers or one of the midfield rivals, like Renault, gains significant performance through development.

What do you think? Leave your comments below

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As a Canadian I was excited for JV coming through after watching him in Atlantics, then Indycar (or whatever it was called back then). It seemed like he was getting better every day. And then he entered F1 so strongly. This is like the inverse of that. It’s hard to be even excited for the guy being there, but he has done well in a few sessions. I hope he shows true talent at some point because the stand-out drivers can be counted on one hand. This is F1. They should all be *amazing*.


why compare villeneuve?
billeneuve has enjoyed several years in f1 and stroll has only had a couple of races. give him a break, will you?


I was comparing Canadian F1 drivers at the start of their F1 career. Who would you suggest I use? They both started in Williams following a lot of pre-season preparation. I think it’s an excellent comparison/contrast. JV had more “mature” success and a last name. Stroll has money and moderate ladder success.


current williams is not the same as williams villeneuve debuted at. villeneuve was in a championship winning car competing against top drivers who didn’t have the tendency to crash into him.
not fair to compare that with stroll’s.


I think he jumped in F1 too early & will have a hard year of learning in the deep end. I expect more incidents & errors as he establishes his race craft. Williams knew what they were going into & have accepted this due to the money they’re getting. His dad’s money though cannot buy him natural talent nor racing experience.

After GP3 or F3, GP2/F2 should be compulsory & used as the ladder to enter F1. F1 needs tiers for advancement which is lacking & should be based on talent advancing not how much $ you can bring to buy a seat. The new FOM may make it harder to buy a seat moving forward with it now owning F2 but I can’t see the buying of seats stopping alltogether as the smaller works teams still need a great deal of money to stay in F1.


After all that work and development and the scoop of getting Paddy on board, it would be unbearable to see the opportunities being lost if his skills and fortunes dont hold up.
I think he’s been unlucky so far though and there is no reason for alarms to be ringing.
Will be great to see some good fortune and good finishes for Franks cars..


christian horner says he gets infuriated by drivers using their phones to distribute their own stories during press conferences.
i wonder why he get infuriated by it after all drivers create f1 stories and should have full control over how their stories are distributed.


Aveli you clearly don’t understand how ‘rights’ are applicable to the world of Formula One broadcasting and distribution.


telling me that i don’t understand is not a point of argument.
i hope you understand that.


many journalist make up stories about what drivers have said in the recent past and some drivers have decided to take charge of matters. am glad drivers are giving us the chance to access the truth.
just like christian horner, you think your emotions should decide what is wrong or right. for your information, the written policy dictates what happens not how you feel..


@sarsippious…is that your point of argument?


Money > Talent. Sad state of F1 teams.
Some one said below we should respect Stroll for coming to F1 for risks and thrills – what risk in driving a car which can take a T34 head on. Can we stop this F1 is risk, life-threatening crap please? I have not seen a single driver die in my entire lifetime racing at full speed.


i have seen a few die, watching tv..


Must have been watching RC championships then?



If T34 is a tank…I think you VASTLY over-estimate the sturdiness of fibreglass.

Torchwood Mobile

I was thinking that the Sainz – Stroll collision showed how heavy the new cars were, compared to a similar one with Maldonado ploughing into the side of Gutierrez and flipping his car into the air.

Surprised later on, to hear that it was the same race and same spot, where the pit lane feeds out into the on-track corner that the more infamous incident happened.

Carlos, as Maldonado before him, had full view of the car on the racing line before them, and ploughed into the side. No difference.


@Torchwood Mobile

compared to a similar one with Maldonado ploughing into the side of Gutierrez and flipping his car into the air.

The reason Gutti’s car flipped is because they touched Wheel (those Springy Bouncy air filled things!) to Wheel. Stroll vs Carlos was body to body.

However, I wonder if it would have flipped if it was Wheel hitting Wheel again.


In last couple of races other drivers have been using Stroll for target practice and looks like he needs to do Matrix style bullet dodging with his car in order to finish races. His overall pace is obviously pretty weak at the moment but he has won the championship in F3 so I guess the speed is there. Maybe he needs a lottery win with his car setup so he can extract more pace out of the car and get better results.


I think he has done well, he’s only 18 and he will improve as the season goes on, I’m not 100% sure though I think he was a Ferrari accadamy driver so they must have seen something special in him. Hope he scores some points soon.


i like lance stroll’s attitude. had i not known that he was a billionair’s son i couldn’t have guessed from his attitude. he comes across really down to earth and willing to please. other rookies seem to be in a hurry and say very little to the cameras…
as far as his driving is concerned, it’s better to start off not so good and improve than to start brilliantly only to fall flat on your face. he’ll surely get better with time..


are we talking about wine or F1 racing ?


come back when you’re sober without a headache..


You obviously didn’t see his ‘attitude’ post race otherwise you wouldn’t have got past ‘i’…


Williams is/was not a top team and wasn’t/isn’t an attractive proposition to hire a current top driver.
Therefore their decision for Stroll made perfect sense, as he had some mega impressive races in F3 and really dominated the championship. So in some sense, they were lucky to have him- with his strong funding being a big benefit.
So I think we need to give him some time and credit. As Grosjean also needed after his first appearance with Renault…
But it’s also a pitty, that Massa’s performances will never receive the deserved credit.


One thing that Stroll does need to learn if he has not done so already is that it does not matter if you have the right to take the ‘racing line’ and clip all the apexes if another upstart driver has put his car where he does not have the right to be. If Stroll drives like that every race he will struggle to get many finishes. The more experienced drivers are good at being aware of where the idiots (their competitors) are positioning their cars and adapting their cornering to avoid collision even if they get straight on the radio to moan about it! Everyone gets it wrong sometimes but the older hands get it wrong less. Racing with other people, as opposed to being able to do fast aps in testing, is about adapting to the circumstances of the race and surviving to the end even if that means taking a wider line than you wanted or driving off the track to avoid being hit. There is no point in being ‘in the right’ but back in the motorhome with the race still running.

Devils Advocate

Could be a bit early to judge, even though he doesn’t seem to have it all together at the moment. Yes, things are going against him, but then again he could be the one causing them.

MAX showed his race craft on his second race of the season with Toro Rosso scoring his first points of the season and his F1 debut. Clearly, there cannot be a comparison between MAX and Lance.


He’s clearly a good driver

Yes, he is a good driver, like thousands of other racing drivers around the world. But at a F1 level, up to what I’ve seen of his career, it’s obvious that he’s an average good driver. So there’s no taking away the fact that his fathers money has taken him somewhere he doesn’t belong just yet. He might prove us all wrong, but I highly doubt it. I wish him luck, he’s gonna need it poor boy.


alonso said “engine problem box box” as though he was the race engineer and the car ran like clockwork in testing. very disrespectful to spectators. why race at all if he thinks he’s too good to finish out of the points?



why race at all if he thinks he’s too good to finish out of the points

True. Lets just ignore it for now and hope from Barcelona Honda start kicking again.


honda has been kicking all along, just not hard enough.
alonso doesn’t want to finish out of the points so he retires.


To be fair to the kid, it’s only 3 races in and Bahrain wasn’t his fault, but he needs to be challenging Massa in qualifying and getting points by mid season!


The only F1fans more rabid than the British, are the Canadians. Important that they have a pilot in the series. Based on his lower tiers success, this youngguy probably isn’t a joke, but it would have been nice if he could have had a year in F2. Prodigys like Verstappen are rare, but it is an unfair comparison. Hope it works out for him. Give him a bit more time. For Williams, tho, not a great situation. The car might be very good.


It’s still only three races in and a lot can change. But still, he’s either going to grow and come to grips with racing at this level in these cars, or, coming into F1 too early is going to end his career.


Simply put Claire Williams has made a blunder. Stroll has shown no pace. In qualifying , they send him out first to avoid traffic. In race form, well he’s basically a driver not a racer.

The shunt with Carlos was his fault. I don’t care what Crofty and the rest of the SKY paid to blab crew think. In fact I am sick of them hyping this drvier becuase its on their cards to do so. This is how you damage F1.

Please lets call it what it is.


The Stewards thought otherwise – thats why Sainz has three place penalty foe Russia . Saint should have backed out Nand realised Stroll would not give him space . The Stewards called it as it was and the penalty for Sainz I’m afraid should have shown more discretion. I agree Stroll’s peripheral vision could be improved but saying the incident with Sainz was his fault is complete hogwash in my opinion . Sainz should have used common sense and backed out of it rather than punting Stroll off lunging late up the inside. The bashing of Stroll for that incident and I think they are much more qualified to make decisions about who is at fault than anyone on here . Some of the comments on this incident are truly laughable.


At best it was a racing incident.
Racers backing off ? This is F1rememeber. If you want backing off then look elsewhere.

Tornillo Amarillo

No pace? I think he was in Q3 in his second race. Stop nonsense, he is confident whatever some few fans could say.



Confidence is something the kid has truckfulls off 😀

Its his “talent” and “Specialness” – to suddenly be blessed with a drive in the Pinnacle of Motorsport – is what people question.

Put your hand on your heart and answer.. would this guy Stroll have survived a Red Bull Junior Program to make it into a Torro Rosso seat?

Frank Williams at this grand age after having the likes of Prost and Senna, I feel for him. Sure Claire wants the team to “Survive”, but that does not stop me from empathising with Frank.

Tornillo Amarillo

It was part of the Ferrari Academy between 2010 and 2015 before joining Williams.


He* was part of the Ferrari Academy between 2010 and 2015 before joining Williams.

Exactly.. he should have remained a part of it and see if he could mature his skills enough to get ACCEPTED into F1 organically in a natural way.

But he chose to not trust in himself and trust his deep wallet instead.


It is a proven strategy at Williams – after all their last pay driver actually won a race for them! As for the shunt with Carlos I agree. The pit exit was the inside line for goodness sake. Was Carlos supposed to slow down and say “after you claude”. I thought the stewards were plain wrong on that one but maybe they felt sorry for Stroll.

Tornillo Amarillo

Nop, turn 1 in Bahrain is just like that, unusual like that and Lance took the racing line and Sainz should know what the racing line is and that the car ahead won’t take another line to do you a favor. You don’t race to give more room to the car behind!

Shame on Carlos, the stewards penalizedhim but the incredible thing is that Sainz ruined so early any hope of scoring points for Toro Rosso. Calm down Carlitos.

Tornillo Amarillo

Relax, I think the article need more balance. Lance is a rookie, I guess the rule is rookies make mistakes, a lot, and there are exceptions like Hamilton, Vettel, etc.

I remember established drivers in the midfield doing mistakes too (Grosjean? Kvyat? Where KMag was all this time?), and a lot of spins in the top (Kimi, Bottas?).
How many YEARS some drivers waiting for a win? How many YEARS Huld waiting for a Podium? Because he had the car (Force India, ask Checo).

Lance is only 18, and has full support from Williams, as Claire said, so there is no doubt. He will learn, Massa probably mentor him. In two years he will be 20 with a lot of experience.

It’s important to know that he is Canadian what it means time is not a problem, never in a hurry… The Circuit needs repairs? Yep, ok we will see, we will think about it Bernie, we will continue and we will put a deal until “at least”2029… Who can do that? Canadians 😉 And Bernie is out…

For sure many people will eat their words about Lance, as many people -me included’ are eating their words about Max…

He is a good asset with his personality, being from Montreal, speaking English and French fluently, no doubt.

I saw him pretty good between many cars in the first packed turns of each GP, I would say he is aggressive and composed at the same time.

If you have any doubt, I’m a supporter of Lewis & Lance, it sounds crazy but it’s not 🙂


Red Bull didnt need Max’s “money” to race.. they went for him because thier complex driver talent hunt programs identified him as a phenomenal talent.

Helmut Marko whose sole job it is to find talent, stuck his neck out to say Max was unbelievably talented. There was no point Doubting Max. Red Bull is not a desperate organisation, they had no “reason” to take him randomly if he was not crazy good.

WIlliams However.. I have rarely heard anyone stick thier neck out and say Stroll is an UNBELIEVABLE Talent. They all keep saying, he will get better in due time 😀

Offcourse Williams as a team unlike Redbull, need money.
Offcourse we all know who Stroll’s dad is.

Maybe he will work hard and improve and have a long and strong career in F1.. but nobody ever stuck his or her neck out and said he came in because Williams thought he was an eye popping talent!

Daddy may have brought him in, but too many crashes and he can eventually be blamed and banned.


So we’ve established that he retired with brake failure in Australia, he got hit by Perez in China, and again by Sainz Kamikaze-ing down the inside in Bahrain.
Give the kid a break. Qualy needs to improve, but Massa’s clearly loving the trip down grip memory lane with these new cars, and has umpteen years experience, with the F1 life, the tracks, the team.
This guy is three races in!
I think he’s doing pretty well, all things considered.
Let’s wait and see how things pan out by the time the summer break comes along. Think he’ll be up there with Massa…


Not to worry, if Lance has trouble staying at Williams then Daddy can simply do a hostile and buy the company. And if necessary, Daddy could do the same with Liberty Media and buy the entire series.


Let’s just face it,Williams sold their soul for a few bob.If he was any good ala Schumacher or Verstappen he would be outperforming an ageing Massa


Max broke through the ceiling that was preventing “kids” joining F1. His success has made it easier for other youngsters perhaps……..but it hasn’t done Lance any favours at all. Simply, he isn’t a “Max”. Max is very exceptional. He might be the best of all time. No doubt Lance is a good driver but he has joined F1 about 4 years too early. Now he simply has to try and cram 4 years experience into as short a time as possible, under the full glare and scrutiny of everyone in and out of F1.


Worry for the future of the Williams team more than anything. They don’t have the backing to be able to afford to slip down the constructors table, they need him to start performing.


There’s really anything to like about Stroll and how he got into f1…it speaks volumes for all the talented people who deserve to be on field on merit than guys like him who basically bought their way into the sport.
From the looks of it…he hasn’t shown any speed to be in f1. Its like those rich kids driving Ferraris on street except in his case daddy got him into f1.

Mohammed Nadeem

Lance Stroll needs talent to settle in F1!

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