Lance Stroll must be one of the drivers that has been under the most ctrutiny over the past year. In quali sessions he is 0-5 against Sergio Perez, but even the Mexican driver said that Stroll has a very strong race pace. So how did Lance do in Spain against his teammate? Let’s take a look at the numbers.
Lance Stroll only managed to race for 44 laps before he was taken out by Lando Norris. Normally I would not compare drivers when one of them did not finish the race, but since his accident actually triggered the safety car and Checo went into the pits immediately, then I would say that the race from the Mexican and the Canadian until lap 44 was representative of their race pace.
In an interesting decision, Checo Perez started the race with the soft tires instead of the mediums, while Stroll went with the yellow stripped tires. As expected, Checo was faster than Lance during the first stint, that is until lap 22 when Stroll went into the pits. Perez managed to be faster than Lance by an average of 232 thousands of a second per lap.
It is hard to say why Lance went into the pits before Sergio even though he had harder tires, perhaps they saw the numbers and thought that the mediums were just not working in Barcelona. Regardless of the decision making process, Lance put on a set of soft tires, while Checo this time went for the slower medium tires.
From lap 26 until lap 44, that is the last lap before Stroll abandoned the race, the Canadian this time was faster than Sergio, but only by 25 thousands of a second.
Over the course of the 44 laps, Sergio was faster than Stroll by 67 thousands of a second.
As you can see, the solid line in the graph that represents the trend of lap times shows how both drivers were fairly even, with both of them being faster at different parts of the race.
Delta per lap
This graph now compares every individual lap between drivers, as long as both of them were on the track at the same time and after removing the laps that are not relevant due to the safety car.
In total, Perez was faster than Stroll on 21 laps, beating him in those laps by a total of 8.951 seconds. His best delta against Stroll was in lap 41, when he was faster by 1.08 seconds than the Canadian.
Regarding Stroll, he was faster than Perez on 18 laps, beating him in those laps by a total of 4.798 seconds. His best delta against Sergio was in lap 42, when he beat the Mexican by 1.674 seconds.
If we obtain the delta between both drivers only when both were at the track at the same time, then Sergio’s average lap time was faster than Lance’s time by 0.106 seconds.
Average pace distribution
This is one of the times when the average pace distribution graph is perhaps tricky to analyze. Both of the drivers have a more or less identical 25% percentile, while their 50% and 75% percentile are not separated by much either.
The main difference seems to be after the 75% percentile. In order to make this graph more useful, I added a vertical red line showing the 90% percentile, meaning that after that line you see the slowest 10% of the laps done by each driver. As you can see, Lance’s 90% percentile line is more to the right than Checo’s, and after looking at the data points, we can see that Sergio’s slowest laps were on average faster than Lance’s.
When it comes to qualifying sessions, Lance Stroll keeps having a really bad time. However, his race pace indeed seems to be decent, especially if we consider that Sergio is in fact one of the drivers with the best race pace of the entire grid.
In Spain, Stroll managed to stay very close to the Mexican, and was on average slower by slightly more than half a tenth. If we just consider the laps when both drivers were on the track at the same time, then he was slower by just over a tenth of a second.
While he could certainly improve, his race pace is nothing to be alarmed about. For him, right now it is all about improving his quali sessions if he wants to challenge for points at the end of the race.
I hope that you have enjoyed this article, let me know what you think in the comments below.