Lance Stroll: "I missed the taste of champagne"
After a crazy first half of the season, I chatted with Lance Stroll about the season so far.
At 18 coming into Formula 1 is never an easy task, but Lance Stroll did precisely that. However, he came into F1 with a large amount of negativity, but 2020 has seemingly been Stroll's stand out season. Stroll, and I had a chat surrounding the season and what is also to come.
2020 has been a turbulent year for everybody and in the formula one world we have seen it just the same. The changes to the calendar and a compressed season have changed things. The season so far has been an exciting story to tell, and Stroll falls straight into that category.
Racing Point proved from testing the strength of their RP20 car, a car which was modelled from the W10 car of Mercedes. Of course, the story is now well documented surrounding the protests and other things with the car.
Despite four seasons in the sport, Stroll still finds himself with negativity, but this season with the RP20 he has been able to showcase his talent. The young Canadian has finished within the point in every race he has finished. Also just over halfway through the season, he has already beaten his best season of 2017.
Stroll said: "Yeah, it's been awesome. I've enjoyed every minute of it fighting up at the front.
"We have such a strong package this year, it's been really the first time in my formula one career that I've been able to just demonstrate my potential, have a proper chance of fighting up at the front and scoring big points.
"That's kind of been the story of this year that has really been a big boost of confidence and motivation for myself.
"After four years of kind of struggling, hearing a lot of negativity around me and my career. To come into this season and have the tools and the experience to bounce back, it's awesome."
Stroll on the Podium at Monza
Stroll took his first podium in Baku in 2017 at the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix. It was his rookie season, and he was able to make the most of a crazy race finding himself on the third step of the podium alongside Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo.
This season in Monza he worked his way back on the podium for a second time. 2020 Italian Grand Prix, was a crazy race which saw a red flag and penalties knocking out the front runners. Stroll found himself in the fight for the win after a tactical move pitting under the red flag. It opened him up to a return to the podium after three seasons.
Even with the return to the podium alongside Pierre Gasly and Carlos Sainz Jr., some felt he threw away a win but also got an easy podium. Yet he nearly found himself on outright merit on the podium the second weekend in a row in Mugello as Stroll showcased his pace and ability during the weekend before an unfortunate tyre failure.
"I missed the taste of champagne. It was a long time coming. It was such a hectic race.
"It wasn't really a podium to go to sleep with as much appreciation as Baku, for example, because it was just a lot that happened with the red flag. I was kind of put into a position to score a podium.
" It wasn't a podium on outright merit, which I believe in Mugello we were on for, a podium before the tyre failure. I believe that was an opportunity to score a podium.
"So podiums like that are ones you remember more than like what happened in Monza. But still, it was great to be standing up on the podium.
"A part of me was a bit disappointed I didn't get the win because I was in a position to win the race. So that was a bit of a bummer, but anyways, it happens."
With the pandemic currently happening, Formula one has also had to change from placing in new rules within the paddock to the calendar changes. F1 has ended up having to revisit and find fresh tracks.
These are tracks which half the drivers have no raced on since their junior careers unless you are the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. Stroll has a good record at some of the tracks that F1 is headed for, having podiums at Portimão and having two wins at Imola.
Stroll will be in hope to use his experience combined with the RP20 to be able to perform at the track and make sure he grabs points for the team. Stroll went through how he's getting ready for the several new tracks on the calendar after performing well at Mugello.
"Everyone is in the same boat, of course, some of the drivers have been to Turkey. But, I think it's exciting for the sport, exciting for us drivers, for the teams. New tracks, it always kind of mixes things up, spices things up.
"Imola, in particular, is going to be really cool with the two-day format like FP3 straight into qualifying. I think that's going to be pretty cool. So we'll see how it all turns out.
"And cool tracks Imola, Portugal, Turkey, all great circuits. They're circuit which are exciting and I'm looking forward to it."
Next year sees a significant change for Stroll and his current team Racing Point. They will take on the iconic name of Aston Martin, thanks to Lawerence Stroll.
Aston Martin is an icon of motor racing and also in the car industry with a long history. The British brand will re-enter Formula 1 after sixty years away from the sport as a team.
Also, Stroll finds himself with a new teammate in Vettel. It will be a tough teammate to face, as Vettel comes with a lot of experience and four world title, precisely the boost which Aston Martin need.
But this season Stroll has managed to go toe to toe with Sergio Perez, one of the most highly-rated midfield drivers. Prooving it might not be so easy for Vettel.
There is also more pressure which can come with being a factory team. Stroll has to get into a mindset and be prepared to take it on. As a young driver, he has progressed, and he made his aims with the team clear.
It seems Stroll has big ideas for the team and he made that clear, talking through the 2021 season and the future.
"It's pretty awesome. I'm not complaining about some free Aston Martin's and some filming days, drifting around vantages and DBS's.
"It's very exciting and very exciting for the team as well its an opportunity to really grow this team, just make a name for ourselves.
"Aston Martin is one of the most historical and legendary names in motorsport and the car industry.
"The plan is not only we have a name but take another step in performance, and we fight with some of the bigger team up at the front.
"In a couple of years time, we'll consistently be able to fight for podiums and the occasional win. That's definitely the mindset.
"It's no secret Mercedes are going to be hard to catch. They're quite far up the road. But we're doing everything we can to really close that gap.
"Just consistently have that chance to finish on the podium would already be a big step up for us, which we are already doing. We're in the hunt for a podium often, just really fight with Red Bull, that's the aim."