Stroll's refusal to accept blame for Chinese GP crash increases scrutiny on his racecraft
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By Adam Proud profile image Adam Proud
3 min read

Stroll's refusal to accept blame for Chinese GP crash increases scrutiny on his racecraft

Refusing to accept the blame for his crash with Ricciardo during the Chinese Grand Prix may have been the wrong call for Stroll

In recent times, Lance Stroll has come under scrutiny for several errors, as well as his struggle to keep up with current teammate Fernando Alonso.

But the Chinese Grand Prix may have just highlighted his racecraft ability that bit more.

Coming to the end of the first safety car period on lap 26, Stroll fell victim to the concertina effect caused by his Aston Martin stablemate Alonso, who locked up at the turn 14 hairpin, forcing the drivers behind to brake in an unusual manner.

However, Stroll was caught out by this - by having his vision set on the apex ahead, he did not see Daniel Ricciardo braking in front, therefore crashing into the back of the RB driver and causing race-ending damage to the rear of the VCARB 01.

With a 10-second time penalty handed out for the incident, Stroll’s race was all but ran as he eventually finished 15th out of 17 remaining runners.

But afterwards, there was a contrast of opinion between the 25-year-old’s version of events to the stewards.

“Someone braked in front and everyone kind of braked [to avoid that],” he told F1.com following the race.

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“The car in front of me just stopped right in front of me and I had nowhere to go.

And there was little sympathy from the Canadian when asked if he accepted the penalty once the chequered flag had flown.

“I don’t understand it, it was really just one of those concertina effects racing incidents,” he said.

“I guess because I was the one that hit the guy in front of me I got the penalty.

“Someone caused that in front of him [Ricciardo], someone hit the brakes and yeah, it was a weird one.”

It’s another incident to add to Stroll’s tally, which includes a crash at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix earlier this year, when a mistake at Turn 22 on lap six put the Aston Martin driver out of the race.

But the incident in China has drawn more criticism than usual for Stroll - and on the other side of the fence there has been vocal anger from Ricciardo, who rejected the Canadian’s claims that he was to blame.

“I could see it was bunching up into the hairpin so everyone’s backing up,” he told Sky F1.

“Obviously with how hard he’s hit me and pretty much put half his car under mine, it wasn’t a small lack of judgement, it was miles off.

“That for me, there’s honestly no excuse. I think what’s frustrating is I watched his onboard and he’s not even looking at me, you can see his helmet [and] he’s looking at the apex of the corner.

“I don’t know why he’s not looking at the car in front, unless his eyes are doing something funny, but it looked like he wasn’t looking at me and I think it shows how hard he hit me.

“He was clearly focused on something else.”

With Oscar Piastri weighing in on the debate and siding with compatriot Ricciardo saying “everyone else didn’t crash into each other”, it puts pressure on Stroll who is seemingly alone in his side of the ring on who was to blame for the incident.

It may be not shown in the public eye, but after finishing 132 points behind Alonso in last year’s championship - and having only scored two top-10 finishes this year while the Spaniard has five from five grands prix - questions may well soon be getting asked again about Stroll’s position in the Silverstone-based team.

By Adam Proud profile image Adam Proud
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