To whom it may concern...
Lance Stroll has to be enlisted within the most underrated drivers currently on the grid. The Canadian went through a hard time at Williams and moved to Racing Point for the 2019 season, hoping to turn things around on the communis opinio over his character. Despite holding a few impressive career highlights, he was always strongly criticized and labelled as the driver ‘who comes from money’, but Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer is adamant that Stroll is a great, talented asset to the squad.
"He can pedal a car" Szafnauer said. "It will be interesting, because he's a gutsy racer too like Checo, so I'm sure there'll be races where it's one versus the other. But that's what we need, we need two good drivers, and we got them both. I think over time that will change. He'll get the credit. Because he's good. He's very good.”
His career stats and achievements actually confirm what Szafnauer declared, as Stroll has reportedly won in every championship he entered so far, from Italian F4 to Toyota Racing Series.
"You don't win all those championships too, coming through the junior formulae, if you can't drive a car. He's won everything [he competed in] so our expectation was that he was good. We ran him in the simulator at the beginning, and were thinking 'ooh, he's good'."
Also on the technical side, Szafnauer’s opinion is reflected in chief technical officer Andy Green’s words. The Briton recalls his earliest memories of Stroll at Racing Point in Abu Dhabi, when he ran at post-season testing. "We've seen it, I've said it right from the beginning. He got in the car in the Abu Dhabi test, was quick straight out. Guy's got talent."
Moreover, Stroll’s result in Australia appears rather encouraging, especially after a bad qualifying. The Canadian, as Szafnauer and Green explained, was excellent at managing the race and responded extremely well to the requests from the pit wall. He yielded a point-paying result unlike his teammate Sergio Perez, whom he handsomely outshined on Sunday. Stroll crossed the line in P9, after he was able to fend off Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly, wrestling his way through the top 10.
“When he was in clear air, because he was running the opposite strategy, he put some great laptimes. And then when he came under pressure, from Kvyat especially, and then Kvyat and Gasly, he didn't put a foot wrong” said Szafnauer.
Green stressed Stroll’s unerring consistency throughout the race, as he was never at fault, not even in tense situations. “When we asked him to push, he pushed, without mistake, and then he held his position very maturely. It's good to see" he said.