Lance Stroll believes a mistake he made in the German Grand Prix cost him a podium finish ahead of Daniil Kvyat.
The Racing Point driver was the first to change to slick tires for the final part of the chaotic race on Sunday, pitting at the end of the penultimate Safety Car period from the back of the field. It was the right call, as he took the lead for half a lap when others pitted ahead, but he was eventually passed by Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel and Kvyat to finish fourth.
“They told me I was P1, and I was still kind of exploring the grip, but I was on my tires for two laps at that stage, and the other guys came out of the pits with warmer tires,” Stroll said. “I was still losing temperature at that stage, so I was gaining grip, and they came out with fresh tires.
“Initially I didn’t have very good pace on the slicks, but once everyone settled in, I had quite good pace, and we were in the hunt for a podium. Unfortunately it slipped away from us. I made an error in Turn 8 on my second or third lap on slicks, and that allowed Kvyat to overtake me. If only that wouldn’t have happened, I think we had the podium. But it’s still a great result, P4.”
Stroll has excelled in wet conditions before, securing a front row start at Monza in the rain in his rookie season, and said he takes confidence from his performances in such weather.
“I’m not driving everyone else’s car, I’m just driving my car,” he said. “We definitely had really good pace out there; certain parts of the race we were really, really strong even though we were in the back because we pitted five times, and we were on the wrong tire. When we were on the right tire, we were always catching the group in front of us by big margins every lap. So that gives me good confidence for the remainder of the season if ever it starts raining, I think we can be confident.”
Despite his pace, Stroll said Racing Point only got his strategy right at the end of the race on a day when all teams were trying to respond to constantly changing conditions.
“We got it wrong four out of the five times!” he said. “We went on slicks, then it started raining, then I spun twice in one lap, so I was limping back to the pit lane. We fitted the inters, and then it was dry, and it started to dry up, so we fitted another set of inters because we were destroying those inters, and then we fitted the slicks at the end.
“I’ll have to re-watch the race and figure it all out, because it’s a lot to reflect on and explain in detail. It was definitely an exciting one, and it goes to show that in these conditions, it’s never over until it’s over.”