Lance Stroll played a key role in shaping the Formula 1 race in Jeddah – albeit involuntarily. With his retirement after 16 of 50 laps, the Aston Martin driver unintentionally triggered a safety car phase, which was hotly debated. Because was it even necessary?
Stroll had actually parked his car in a supposedly safe place. The Canadian coasted in turn 13 and drove straight into a side pocket – but race control still deployed the safety car.
“We had to stop the car and then told him to park it in a safe place,” team boss Mike Krack told Sky. For him, Stroll’s parking lot was such a place, “but safety first. If the race director decides safety first and he wants to pull out the safety car, then that’s okay with me too.”
Stroll also tries to explain Bernd Mayländer’s commitment: “It wasn’t like there was a crane in front of me. I wasn’t completely off the track, but a bit of the car was still looking out,” he says. “But I haven’t seen exactly where I am.”
Stroll still sees positive things
The FIA then gave a reason for the safety car phase. The exact position of the Aston Martin was not apparent from the original camera positions. As the safest option, the decision was therefore made to neutralize the field.
The retirement was bitter for Stroll, because otherwise he could have scored good points. Starting from fifth on the grid, he had pushed past Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari with a remarkable maneuver on the first lap and was fourth.
“I really felt comfortable in the car,” says Stroll, who then began to lose power. According to Krack, there was a problem with energy recovery. “He could no longer recuperate and therefore had no energy and could no longer fight,” was his explanation.
“It got worse round by round and then it was game over,” says Stroll. Smoke came out of his Aston Martin AMR23, “and then we preferred to park the car,” said the team boss.
At least Stroll was able to take some positive things with him from Saudi Arabia: Bahrain’s success was not a flash in the pan and his hand is getting better and better: “I didn’t think about it today. That was good,” he says.