#18 LANCE STROLL
He may have paid his way into the sport, but Lance Stroll’s racing CV is as respectable as those without the money. After a steady first two seasons at Williams, including a podium finish at the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, how will the Canadian get on as he moves to the Force India team?
|Full Name||Lance Stroll|
|Date of Birth||29th October 1998|
|First Race||2017 Australian Grand Prix|
Montreal-born Lance Stroll first had his eyes opened to the racing world when he was given a kart at the age of five by his business man father and keen motorsport enthusiast Lawrence Stroll. He began his karting career in 2008, winning a number of races and championships in Canada. He was crowned the Federation de Sport Automobile du Quebec rookie of the year, aged ten. In 2010, he was signed up to Ferrari’s Young Driver Academy.
Stepping up to single-seaters in 2014, Stroll competed with the Prema team in the Italian F4 Championship, where he dominantly won the title with seven race wins. He won the New Zealand Toyota Racing Series in early 2015, before contesting in European F3. He won a race at the final meeting of the year, but also caused some controversy along the way. He was disqualified in Monza after he caused a huge crash with Antonio Giovinazzi and then at the next meeting in Spa, he was penalised for contact in the first race, caused a crash eliminating the leading three drivers in the second race and was banned from the third race as a result. Nevertheless, he came back stronger in 2016 and convincingly won the title with fourteen wins.
Stroll quit the Ferrari Young Drivers Academy at the end of 2015, with the Williams F1 team signing him up as a development driver in 2016. The team announced him as race driver for 2017, one month after his F3 title success.
Having crashed his car multiple times in winter testing in 2017, the rookie went into the season already being billed as the ‘next Maldonado’. Flash forward four races, and Stroll was yet to finish a Grand Prix, partly due to poor reliability. Things began to change as he scored his first points on home soil in Montreal, then scored one of the shock results of the season – a podium finish on a memorable afternoon in Azerbaijan. He scored points at seven races and started on the front row in Monza, becoming the youngest ever driver to do so. His qualifying was somewhat hit and miss in his début season, but his pre-season reputation as the new crash king didn’t prevail, as only one of his retirements in 2017 was due to his own fault.
Williams kept the Canadian youngster on for 2018, but their car didn’t give much of an opportunity for Stroll to develop his skills any further. For a second season in a row, Stroll was out-qualified by his team-mate more often than not, though in 2018 he was the only Williams driver to reach the final part of qualifying, at Monza, and he finished ahead in the points battle – not that there were many to be scored in the uncompetitive car. Just like in 2017, Baku and Monza provided the highlights in 2018, being Stroll’s only points-scoring races throughout the season.
Whether or not Stroll is worthy of a Formula 1 seat will be under much scrutiny in 2019, as he moves to the Force India team, which has – not so coincidentally – recently been bought by his father. How will he compare to the experienced Sergio Perez?
LANCE STROLL’S F1 RECORD
|Year||Team||Final Position||Points Scored||Wins||Poles||Podiums|