French Grand Prix 2018 – Race

Race Notes

  • Sergey Sirotkin finished 15th and Lance Stroll 17th in the French Grand Prix
  • Both drivers started the race on the ultrasoft Pirelli tyre, with Lance starting 18th and Sergey 19th
  • Lance and Sergey enjoyed clean starts and made the most of an incident-packed opening lap to gain several positions
  • The safety car was then deployed, which prompted both cars to pit for the soft tyre
  • Later in the race, Sergey came under investigation for driving unnecessarily slowly behind the safety car, and was subsequently awarded a five-second time penalty
  • Lance came under pressure late in the race and flat spotted his tyres whilst defending from the cars behind
  • On the penultimate lap, Lance suffered a front-left puncture which forced him to retire

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: With the car pace, on both low and high fuel, it was always going to be extremely difficult, so we looked at what tactics could play out for us. We were reasonably confident that we would get a prime tyre to do the full race distance which on Sergey’s car, it did, so when we discussed it this morning, we thought we would stop on a first lap safety car. We did that in the hope that faster cars would pit and come out behind us and then it was a case of seeing if we could hold them up or not. We purposely put Sergey in a DRS train behind Lance in order that we could try and protect from Ericsson and Hartley coming through at the end. Unfortunately, at one-point Sergey lost the DRS and they both came through. We managed however with that strategy to stay out in front of Alonso which is a very small bonus in what’s been an extremely difficult weekend. Lance was unfortunate with his puncture after enjoying a great start. Both drivers did a solid job for the team in attempting what they could to try and improve our finishing position. This is not what we want however, and we need to continue to work as a team to improve things.

Sergey Sirotkin: It was quite a busy race with some good battles. I had a bit of fun on the first lap, but obviously you want more pace so you can battle and overtake people, but today that was not the case. It would be more pleasant to battle rather than to protect, but still it was a step from qualifying. With our strategy we could fight the cars up to the very end of the race. I still think my race could have played out differently because I was just stuck behind the cars in front. It was costing me the brakes and the tyres, and I wasn’t able to do anything, which I think we could have done differently. I did what the team wanted me to do. We are where we are, it’s not easy.

Lance Stroll: At the beginning the pace wasn’t too bad and I had a good start. With about 20 laps to go I felt a massive vibration on the car and it was just big wear on the front-left tyre. I had a flat spot on that tyre and then with Vandoorne when he overtook me it was already so bad that I couldn’t turn right, as I had no support on the left tyre. Then with a few laps to go the vibration was so bad the tyre just blew and that was it. It was optimistic to go the whole race on one set of tyres, and I think we were the only ones trying to go the whole way. We tried to do something, but it just didn’t work. It was certainly not the race we were hoping for.

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