Local Hero Lance Stuns Critics in Montreal
10 June 2019 | Ravenol Marketing
Our F1 Technical Partners, SportPesa Racing Point, got another couple of points in Canada this weekend as local hero Lance Stroll made an amazing recovery to finish in 9th, after engine failure in FP3 left him down on pace in qualifying.
Neither of the Racing Point drivers had a good run in qualifying, with neither Checo nor the problem stricken Lance making it out of Q1. Keeping the Williams drivers company, Checo was starting from 15th on the grid, with Lance on the last row of the grid in 17th. However, as usual, both drivers got an amazing start and made up three places on the opening lap. Lance was nearly caught up in an incident between Alexander Albon and Antonio Giovinazzi, but slipped through as Albon lost his front wing. He was then in the clear to hunt down Giovinazzi and took him under DRS a lap later.
There was early drama when Lando Norris had to pull over into the pit lane exit. His McLaren was suffering from a brake issue which meted his suspension and soon there were flames flickering out from the rear right wheel. It wasn’t blocking the pit lane so the race continued without a safety car, and after being extinguished, the car was left there.
Checo took an early pit stop and came back out down in 15th, but he soon made short work of Kevin Magnusson’s Haas ahead of him to move up into 14th. Meanwhile Lance was up in 8th after a few ahead of him had stopped, and was being threatened by the Red Bull of Pierre Gasly. But Lance was on the pace and the young Red Bull driver struggled to get past. Even on older tyres Lance was able to pull out of DRS range and away to safety.
Race leader Sebastian Vettel came in on Lap 26 for his pitstop, and Lewis Hamilton stayed out for a few laps longer hoping for an overcut, but came out behind, leaving Vettel’s Ferrari team mate Charles Leclerc to temporarily take the lead.
Further back, Checo was lining up Romain Grojean’s Haas for a pass and took him on turn 1. Then further ahead Giovinazzi pitted, promoting Checo into 12th. He was now 5 seconds behind Danil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso, but was slowly closing him down. However, as the gap to Kvyat started to narrow, the Russian picked up the pace an started to pull away again.
Finally on Lap 46, Lance came in for his pit and some fresh rubber. The Canadian came back out ahead of Kvyat in 10th and soon had the Toro Rosso all over his gearbox, but he was unable to get past and Lance was soon out of DRS. But up at the front the drama was in full swing, as Vettel made a mistake, going wide onto the grass and sliding back across the track, almost into Hamilton who saw a gap and nearly went for it. Hamilton complained to the stewards about an unsafe re-entry onto the track, whilst Vettel reiterated he wasn’t in control of the car at that point. Unfortunately for the race leader, the stewards slapped him with a 5 second time penalty, handing the race to Championship leader Hamilton.
Whilst Vettel was fuming, it was back down to business for the Men in Pink. Lance was catching up to Carlos Sainz and soon had the McLaren in DRS range. A lap later and in a pink blur the Canadian was past Sainz and up into 9th, quickly followed by a persistent Kvyat, just behind.
Despite Vettel’s best attempts, he was unable to pull 5 seconds clear of Hamilton and ended up forfeiting the lead because of the penalty. But that wasn’t without him pulling up outside of parc ferme after the race to complain to the stewards and rearranging the boards for the podium drivers.
Further back Lance held onto his 9th place, to bring home a decent result for both his team and his home crowd, whilst Checo crossed the line in 12th, after being unable to keep pace with Kvyat.
So a great race for our favourite Canadian, Lance Stroll. We caught up with Racing Point’s Drivers’ Eye after the race to hear what he had to say:
“The car performed so well today and it feels great to score points in Montreal,” he said. “The lead up to the race wasn’t easy – losing the power unit yesterday and taking a performance hit by going back to the old engine – but we kept pushing, went out there and grabbed a couple of points.
“My start was strong, which moved me up a few positions and the key to our strategy was all about going long on the first stint with the hard tyre. By the time we switched to the medium, we were in good shape and I was able to chase down Sainz and make the move for ninth place.
“The team really deserved this: they’ve put in some long hours this week and it’s a boost for us all. It has been an awesome week with great support from the crowd. I’m going to remember this one for a while.”
So its looking good for our F1 Technical partners, Racing Point. Next up is the Circuit Paul Ricard in France on Sunday the 23rd of June, so don’t put your French phrase book away just yet! We’ll catch up with you then.