‘It hasn’t been fun’ – Stroll opens up on recent ‘rough patch’ as he sets sights on strong finish to 2020
A run of five races without a point has seen Lance Stroll plummet from fourth in the drivers’ championship to 11th in a what he described as a “rollercoaster” season that “hasn’t been fun” in recent months.
Stroll was enjoying a strong year even before his podium in Monza that put him fourth behind Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen in the standings, but since then has faced multiple issues. A tyre failure in Mugello caused a huge crash that Racing Point believe knocked his confidence, before he was punted out in Russia, missed the race at the Nurburgring due to COVID-19 and then struggled on his return at Portimao and Imola.
“It hasn’t been fun, I am not going to lie,” Stroll said, speaking ahead of this weekend's Turkish Grand Prix. “It’s been frustrating at times. This sport is a rollercoaster. I’ve had some highs at the beginning of the season, up until Monza really it’s been a great season for me but unfortunately, now I’ve gone through a rough patch. There’s nothing I can do about it.
“In hindsight, there are definitely some things I believe I could have done differently, there have been some mistakes I’ve made in some of the races which cost me some points but then there’s been some unfortunate circumstances like in Mugello, like Russia then of course missing the race in Nurburgring was far from ideal.
“That’s in the past now, there’s nothing that I can do about it. Instead of dwelling on it, I am looking forward to the next four races. I know we have a strong package and there’s plenty of opportunity in the next four races to come back strong and my sights are set on this weekend as it stands and of course the remainder of the season.”
Part of Stroll’s struggles have been amplified by how tight the midfield is, with Racing Point, Renault and McLaren all covered by just one point in the fight for third in the constructors’ championship. The young Canadian admits it's challenging a trade-off between a strong race car and being quick over one lap, given how damaging a lowly starting position can be on some occasions.
“I think in general, as a team, we always look at how we can walk away from Sunday afternoon with the most amount of points. We set up the car in order to give us the best opportunity on Saturday to go into the race and score as many points as we can on Sunday.
“This year, there are definitely some things that we’ve learnt over the last few events that we could have done differently in terms of setup going forward. At the end of the day, our goal as a team is to score as many points as we can on Sunday afternoons so we will be keeping that mentality for the rest of the year.
“It’s a very tight grid - the midfield is very tight, very fine margins. Maximising our car performance on Saturday is extremely important to put us in a good position for Sunday so for sure that’s going to be a focus point as well but ultimately a good race car is the most important as the points are on Sunday.”