Racing Point team boss Otmar Szafnauer says that Lance Stroll’s P4 finish in the Hungarian Grand Prix was a timely confidence booster for the young Canadian.
Stroll outpaced experienced teammate Sergio Perez both in qualifying and on race day, racing impeccably to deliver to Racing Point its best result since last year’s German Grand Prix in which Stroll also finished fourth, albeit in a race of attrition marked by wet conditions.
The 21-year-old charger is slowly but surely honing his skills and developing into a mature and reliable racer. But more importantly, he’s convincing his own self of his qualities.
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“This is exactly what Lance needed,” Szafnauer told Autosport.
“It’s a confidence builder for him. And we always knew that he’s got the speed and the talent, but when he actually does it under pressure then in his mind he knows he can do it.
“It’s not just us telling him. He did a great job, a lot of good laps and good learning.”
As a young man who was handed a golden opportunity to race at the pinnacle of motorsport with Williams in 2017 thanks to his father’s considerable fortune, Stroll – who was once labeled the “worst rookie in the history of F1” by countryman Jacques Villeneuve – has often received a bad rap from fans and media alike.
However, the criticism has gradually subsided, although it resurfaced recently on the back of the rumors of Sebastian Vettel’s possible move next season to Racing Point, where the German would obviously replace Sergio Perez as Stroll’s seat is considered secure given his protected status as the son of the team’s owner.
But Szafnauer has been impressed by the Canadian’s ongoing development and insists there’s “more to come” from the latter.
“I mean there’s a lot of things to learn, including our car, the way the engineering team works, how we share data, how to treat the tyres,” he explained.
“It’s about knowing what to do on your out-lap, how to work with your performance engineer, and all those things don’t happen overnight.
“It takes experience, and he’s learned all those things. We’ve also spent a lot of time understanding how to drive this tyre, setting the car up around the tyre, and we can help Lance with all those things.
“He’s learned very quickly. And as you can see, the performance has followed suit. There’s more to come from him as well.”
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