Stroll hails ‘amazing day’ as Racing Point roll the dice to take fourth place
He’s spent much of the season in the shadow of his team mate, but on Sunday Lance Stroll was the star of the show at Racing Point, as he kept a cool head to score the squad’s best result of 2019 with fourth place in a drama-filled German Grand Prix.
Stroll, who started the wet-dry race a lowly 15th in his upgraded RP19, spun twice, pitted five times and even briefly led en route to scoring 12 points, as he came home less than a second behind Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat, an inspired decision to pit him for slick tyres under the Safety Car having vaulted the Canadian up the order.
“Really happy,” said Stroll after 64 laps of Hockenheim. “It’s a bit unfortunate that the podium slipped away from us, because we were definitely in a position to finish on the podium with 20 laps to go - I think I was leading the race at one point!"
That podium had looked a genuine possibility for a while – it would have been Stroll’s second after his third place for Williams in Baku 2017 – but after another late Safety Car bunched the pack up again, he was ultimately unable to hold off the quicker cars behind.
“A small error in Turn 8 allowed Dani [Kvyat] to get by,” he continued. “That was a bit disappointing, but aside from that it was a hectic race. We were in the back for the majority of it, but we were on the right tyre with 20 laps to go – and that’s all that counts!”
Stroll admitted that the move to dry tyres, when others were still opting for intermediates, had been a gamble. But given how far down the field he was, Racing Point knew they had little to lose by ‘rolling the dice’, as Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer put it – especially after Sergio Perez had crashed out at the start.
“I was driving around the circuit with my visor half open for a whole lap, looking, inspecting the tarmac, thinking ‘is it good enough for slicks?’” added Stroll. “We had to take the risk with those 20 laps to go - we were at the back, we weren’t scoring points.
“It wasn’t fully dry at that stage of the race, there were still corners where it was quite damp. It was just about survival, but I knew if we could just jump our competitors who were just on inters at that time we would still be in shape, and that was the case.”
The result meant Racing Point closed the gap slightly in the constructors’ table to seventh-place rivals Alfa Romeo, while Stroll leapfrogged team mate Perez in the driver standings. He now lies 12th – four places ahead of the Mexican, whose German Grand Prix ended in the wall.