Stroll ‘needs a hug’ to get back on track

Jon Wilde
Lance Stroll

Lance Stroll has insisted he relishes the criticism that comes with being a driver who is the son of a Formula 1 team owner.

Racing Point think Lance Stroll needs “a bit of a hug” to rebuild his shattered confidence after a difficult couple of months.

The Canadian driver’s season has gone rapidly downhill since he finished third in the Italian Grand Prix, with a series of mid-race incidents blighting a previously promising campaign.

A week after his Monza podium, Stroll crashed out at Mugello and did likewise on the opening lap of the Russian Grand Prix. Then he had to miss the Eifel Grand Prix due to illness and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.

On his return, Stroll was involved in collisions with Max Verstappen in FP1 for the Portuguese Grand Prix and Lando Norris in the race itself, while at Imola he sustained a broken front wing in contact with Esteban Ocon and later knocked over one of the Racing Point crew – who was fortunately uninjured – at a pit-stop.

The catalogue of incident means the 22-year-old has failed to add any further points to his own tally after a run of seven straight top-10 finishes, or help the team – owned by his father Lawrence – in their battle with Renault and McLaren for third position in the constructors’ World Championship standings.

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Andrew Green, Racing Point’s technical director, believes Stroll’s illness was a significant setback and that he needs “an arm around him” to help him get back to his best.

“Obviously he’s not where he was, for sure, from Monza to where he is now,” said Green, quoted by Motorsport Week.

“There’s a lack of confidence which we’ll have to work on over the next week or so trying to get him back again.

“I think the illness did knock it out of him – that’s something we hadn’t really foreseen. We had heard about the length of time it can take to recover from the illness and I think it’s taking some time.

“He just needs to get his confidence back again, believe in himself again, and we’ll get the Lance back that we had for the first two-thirds of the season.

“He’s obviously taken quite a battering physically and mentally. It was quite a big accident in Mugello, so I think that probably dented his confidence, and then not being fit for a couple of races.”

Green thinks the closeness of the midfield battle is highlighting Stroll’s struggles, with fractions of a second making a big difference in qualifying especially.

“It’s really fine margins here and if you’re not on top of the car, and understanding where the tyres are and getting them in the sweet spot, you can be made to look like an idiot,” said Green.

“We just need to get him back on track. We can do that, we’ve got the tools, we’ve got the people.
“Half of it is probably that he just needs an arm around him, a bit of a hug, and say ‘come on, let’s pull yourself together now and get on with this over the last few races’ and try to get back to third in the Championship.

“He’s more than capable of doing it, it’s just a bit tough on him at the moment.”

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