F1 France: Lance Stroll 13th and 18th in practice today


It has to be said, Lance Stroll had a solid drive at the Canadian GP two weeks ago. Building on that good result, Stroll was optimistic ahead of the weekend. “I’m feeling good heading into this weekend. The performance we had in Canada on race day gave us all a boost and I really enjoyed it. I always say it’s Sunday that counts so to come back and score points in my home race after such a tough Saturday felt really special,” Stroll commented.

He then added: “The Paul Ricard circuit is almost the other extreme from Montreal. There are massive run-off areas and it’s a very different experience. That’s not something I enjoy because if you run wide, you can get away with it quite easily. It’s just less of a challenge for the drivers. I remember last year it was really hot and the forecast looks similar this year. I visited Paul Ricard when I was racing in Formula 3, but my memories of last year’s F1 race are not great. I had a puncture in the race and it wasn’t my weekend so I hope my luck changes this year.”

Racing Point was off to a good start in FP1 with Sergio Perez 11th and Lance 13th. Compared with best of the rest McLaren driver Lando Norris’ time of 1:34.110, Perez and Stroll were seven tenths and nine tenths of a second behind respectively. The fastest time going to Lewis Hamilton with a 1:32.738.

But it is a though everything went backwards in FP2 with both cars as both Perez and Stroll lost ground with a 16th for Perez and 18th for Stroll. With the best of the rest again McLaren driver Lando Norris in a surprising fourth place ahead of both Red Bull who were split also by Norris’ teammate Carlos Sainz. Lando Norris clocked a fastest time of 1:31.882 as Perez’s time was 1:33.300 and Stroll 1:33.884. Valteri Bottas had the best time of the session with 1:30.937.

“It was a challenging afternoon and we are further back than we want to be at the moment,” Lance said. “Compared to where we were on Friday afternoon in Canada, it looks like we have a lot of work to do overnight to understand where we can make up some ground. This place is a demanding track for the car and the long corners are tough on the neck, but it is what we train for and I am feeling pretty good. We need to find some pace for the performance runs, but the car felt better during the long runs and I’m confident we will be able to push when it counts on Sunday.”

But things seemed to have gone according to plan as Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer describes: “The programme today was focussed on improving the balance of the car and continued evaluation of the aero components we have brought to the car recently – including front wings and floors. That went to plan and we also collected important tyre information with hot track conditions similar to those anticipated for Sunday. There’s a lot of information to digest this evening to ensure we make the correct decisions for tomorrow.”

With one more practice session Saturday morning, let’s hope they find more performance for qualifying.

Image: Racing Point F1

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