Another race and another early yellow flag. The start of the Russian Grand Prix was expected to be chaotic and cause some drama. And it didn’t disappoint. There were two DNF’s barely a few turns into the 10th race of the season. One of the victims was Racing Point’s Lance Stroll.
Stroll had a poor outing yesterday during qualifying. The Belgian-Canadian driver failed to get out of Q2 and was supposed to start the race in P13. Luckily, he was bumped up by one place owing to a 5-place grid penalty for Red Bull’s Alex Albon.
However, if he wanted a better Sunday, he should have prayed harder. This was accident marked Stroll’s second DNF in two races, his last one was a bad crash in Mugello that brought out the red flag for the second time.
That incident, which seemingly looked like a driver error, was apparently either a puncture of a suspension failure. But over here in Sochi, Stroll is liable to feel gutted because it wasn’t his fault.
He was extremely unlucky to be bumped by Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc on the exit of Turn 4. Stroll had actually gotten off to a good start, effectively gaining five places and moving into P7 before he was sent spinning into the barriers thanks to Leclerc.
What will further disappoint the team is the fact that Stroll’s car was fitted with the new upgrades. Now that Stroll has crashed out, Racing Point will have to wait for the next race in Germany to see just how helpful those upgrades are.
Meanwhile, Ferrari would be happy that Leclerc is still in the race as he is well placed to net the team some vital points.
All hope is not lost for Racing Point despite DNF for Lance Stroll
Crucially for Racing Point, the RP20 of Sergio Perez is still in the race. At the time of writing, Checo was in P6 (having just pitted). The Mexican, despite not getting the upgrades for this weekend, has been doing a good job alright.
The minimum expectation from him would be to finish in the Top-5. If he can do that, Racing Point would keep themselves in the mix to finish the season as the ‘best of the rest.’