- Lance Stroll on the podium in Monza at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix

Lance Stroll Has Actually Earned His Seat

Forever labelled as a pay driver, is it time to admit he is not actually bad

34w ago

Lance Stroll came into Formula 1 back in 2017 and he didn't come into to a good reception. This due to his pay driver status. But over his four Formula 1 seasons, has he started to finally prove to everyone he deserves his seat on the grid?

Stroll entered the pinnacle of motorsport at only eighteen years old with Williams Racing and he partner Felipe Massa. In his first season, he achieved twelfth place in the championship standings with forty points to his name. This was not enough to stop criticism falling his way. Despite the facts, he managed to take a brilliant podium in the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, as he took third. He then stood out in the wet qualifying session in Monza, as he started on the front row. Thanks to a beautiful lap which secured him fourth in the session but the Red Bull Racing drivers took penalties and he took second on the grid to start the race.

However, among fans, Stoll was considered not needed and it seemed people believed so many other drivers deserved a shot at F1. Unfortunately, the stats were not on his side because was hampered by a torrid Williams Racing car, as the team rapidly declined to the back on the F1 grid. He finished with six points in his second season. He did not impress anyone.

It was at this point his father, Lawerence Stroll, acquired Force India, now Racing Point. A team which had two talented drivers of Esteban Ocon and Sergio "Checo" Perez. Stroll's not great season at Williams meant his move to his father's team was not well received.

But his time at Racing Point, he has ultimately started to prove himself. He came into Formula 1 with a good record from junior Formula. Stroll won in Italian Formula 4, with seven wins and thirteen podiums and Italian F4 is one hell of a competitive series, it is a route which many drivers go through. Then he also had Euro Formula 3 to back him up, where he won easily. While in F3 he beat the likes of Athonie Hubert, Callum Illott and George Russell. He started backing this impressive junior career up.

This season in 2020 has easily been Stroll's stand out season. His teammate in Perez is considered one of the best driver's in the midfield. Despite missing two races, it seems Stroll has been comfortably on top of Perez this season in the RP20.

2020 has seen Stroll perform to his best level in F1. 2019 was an okay year for the team but their newfound budget had not yet influenced the car. But it has this year and Stroll and Perez have been gifted with a pretty quick RP20, which takes clear inspiration from the W10 by Mercedes.

Stroll has continually used the tools he has this season to his advantage. He has retired twice this season, the first race in Austria and Mugello. But out the races he has finished he has always been in the points.

The Canadian has doubled his points from 2019 and has shown what a good racer he can be, with his brilliant starts, which see him gain places regularly, but also in overtaking on track.

He was able to take his second career podium at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix, alongside Carlos Sainz Jr, and Pierre Gasly, who all stood there for a second time. He showcased along with the other two drivers the ability stabilise and stay on a podium which is so important. He then tried to follow up with the same result at the Tuscan Grand Prix, but a failure on his car, which lead to an awful crash in one of the highest speed corners meant he was not able to try and challenge anymore for the podium.

Stroll this season has proved himself a useful driver and shown that he can live up to his junior career. With Sebastian Vettel as his teammate next season, there was flack toward the young driver when this announcement came. Suggesting Perez deserved the seat more. Which over time, yes, but Stroll had continued to show that he should be in Formula 1.

If Stroll continues in the form he is this season, he may even be a tough cookie for Vettel to battle. Stroll is a driver who can utilise his tools when they are good and that is exactly what they are.

He is now getting past that pay driver stigma, but it will carry with him forever (because his dad owns the team) but he has shown he is more than just a pay driver.

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Comments (54)

  • He has improved since he came into F1 but my big problem is with him getting the seat at Force India when Lawrence bought it. Would have been better if Stroll stayed where he was or moved to a different team and proved himself from there instead of his Dad essentially buying him better kit.

    Granted he's done better this year but considering all that Perez did for the team and that on paper, he's a better driver, he should have got the seat intstead of Stroll. But now he's always guaranteed a place in F1, regardless of how he does because Lawrence owns the team. And back when he made the switch from Williams to Force India, Ocon definitely deserved the seat more considering everything he and his family had to do just for him to get into F1 in the first place.

    Think that's me finished on that 😅 Good article though, keep up the good work and I get where you're coming from but for me, there are more deserving drivers out there.

      7 months ago
    • Daddy can buy him the seat/s but not the talent to go with them - he should definitely have stayed elsewhere and built his experience before moving nearer to the front of the grid, who knows he might over time, even have managed to progress on...

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        7 months ago
    • See it the other way around. Think what the Strolls brought to the sport. With Strolls money we currently have a very interesting midfield alongside Renault and Mclaren, and all we have to ,,endure'' in return is Lance having a guaranteed...

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        7 months ago
  • Yes he has! Really good drives this season but not as good as Perez I'd say, still not that solid consistency.

      7 months ago
    • agreed on consistency variations but I am hoping he does achieve this with this years cars by the time the season ends in December so we can see more teams up front.

        7 months ago
  • He is better but a bit of luck doesn't change the fact the only reason he has a seat at all is because of his dad. Many drivers could've got the positions he's managed, Hulkenberg springs to mind pretty quickly. He isn't even a pay driver, he literally only has the seat because his dad (and his conglomeration) owns the team. Hulkenberg and Perez deserve his seat more.

      7 months ago
    • Why though? What do they bring to the sport? Lance is a good enough driving bringing more money to the sport than the other two can, which is what currently gives us a great midfield battle.

        7 months ago
    • The only money he brings is from his dad. Perez and Hulk have proven themselves to be more consistent than he is. They've given years to the team. He was given the spot, he didn't earn it. I'm not saying he's bad, but when you consider those 2 you...

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        7 months ago
  • Don't let that halfwit Saward put you off. He's an idiot. I've no interest in the opinion of an established journalist that wants to shut others out of the profession.

      7 months ago
  • A "pay driver" with decent success always gets a bumpier ride than one bringing "only" sponsor's money to lesser results. Always amused me.

      7 months ago