Stroll: Wrong wing and ‘sub-optimal strategy’ ruined Japanese GP


Lance Stroll believes a wrong rear wing choice coupled with a "sub-optimal strategy" by his Aston Martin team undermined his efforts in last weekend's Japanese Grand Prix.

Stroll qualified in the lower tier of the field in 16th position after failing to make the Q2 cut, but the Canadian was on the move from the outset, progressing up to 10th ahead of his first pitstop on lap 12.

A ten-lap stint on the medium hard tyre only carried him to P15 after which he switched to the hard compound which pushed him back up the order and on the verge of the top-ten.

The Aston charger undertook his third and final stint – and the longest of all – on the soft rubber, hoping to challenge RB’s Yuki Tsunoda for the final championship point.

Unfortunately, Stroll came up short, and even lost P11 on the penultimate lap to Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg, a setback he blamed on his car’s straightline speed deficit.

In the closing stages of the race, Stroll vented his frustration to his team with an unequivocal radio message: “It’s unbelievable how bad our speed is on the straight man. Like it’s a different category”.

While Aston team boss Mike Krack later pinned Stroll’s top speed deficit on a tyre discrepancy between the Canadian and his direct rivals that gave the latter better traction out of the corners, Stroll blamed the disappointing end to his afternoon on a wrong rear wing choice and “sub-optimal” strategy.

“It was really tough with straight-line speed,” he told the media after the race. “I think we just had the wrong rear wing on the car.

“I had to do all my overtaking at Turn 6, I couldn’t pass anyone on the straights just with the lack of straight-line speeds. Some things with strategy I think we could have done differently today.

“So just a difficult weekend overall. One of those weekends to forget about.”


Queried on the team’s decision to bring him in for a third stop and a switch back to the softs, Stroll was clearly puzzled by the call.

“It was just a desperate kind of decision to try to get a point, because we did a very sub optimal two-stop and then I was behind Tsunoda in 11th on the same tyre.

“And around here it’s already hard to overtake, and with our lack of straight-line speed too it just didn’t feel possible.

“So hoping to stop for a soft and try to get him back at the end but the tyre just died and we ended up losing another position.

“I think I did my longest stint of the whole race on the soft tyre, so very sub optimal strategy,” he reiterated.”

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