Lance Stroll is the seventh different driver to have been voted Driver of the Weekend in the eight races so far this year.
It’s a stunning turnaround for the driver who had a tough start to his first season in Formula One.
Stroll finished third in Baku and was only pipped to second place by Valtteri Bottas in a thrilling side-by-side dash to the finishing line. The pair were separated by just a tenth of a second.
The Williams racer is the second driver in three races to take his first Driver of the Weekend win. Carlos Sainz Jnr won the poll for the first time at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Lance Stroll’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend
Stroll arrived in Azerbaijan following a breakthrough points finish on home ground in Canada. He’d also begun using a driving coach to hone his racecraft. The result was unquestionably his most assured performance in an F1 car to date.
In a weekend when driver after driver disappeared up Baku’s escape roads, Stroll was one of few who rarely if ever seemed to be seen reversing out of a dead-end. This couldn’t have contrasted more sharply with his error-prone start to life as an F1 driver.
For the first time ever he beat his team mate in qualifying, albeit by a slender margin of four-hundredths of a second. Felipe Massa got ahead of him in the race and looked set to stay there until a damper problem put him out.
Stroll, however, remained error-free despite growing pressure from Bottas over the final laps. He came very close to holding the Mercedes off for second place.
The question now is whether this fine drive was a one-off or whether Stroll really has come of age.
People say he should have been seventh, ninth or whatever but the point is Ocon and Perez clashed, Vettel got a deserved penalty, Hulkenberg smacked the wall, Verstappen and Massa’s car failed and Hamilton was forced to pit for the head rest.
At the end of the day, after endless criticism including from me, the lad kept his nose clean and raced well. Not getting caught up in clashes is luck yes but also careful driving, give the lad a break, his podium was deserved.
I’m going to go for Stroll. My first thought was that in a race where almost everyone else lost there head, I never would’ve imagined that Stroll would be one of the few to make it to the end undamaged. But that would be unfair to say it was a just a good performance by his standards; it was a great performance by anyone’s standards. Don’t think we could’ve asked for anymore from him.
The jury’s still out for me on whether he is a decent talent, but fair play to him, his performances so far compared to this weekend have been night and day. Those first points have done wonders for his confidence. I’ll gladly take back everything I’ve said about him if he keeps this up.
Has completely defied expectations in the last 2 weeks. It was only a month ago that people were saying he should be replaced before the end of the season. He put in a really professional performance for someone so young and inexperienced.
Phil Norman (@Phil-f1-21)
Azerbaijan Grand Prix winners and losers
Quite a few drivers had good cause to feel hard done by in Baku. Lewis Hamilton had led the race from pole position up until the moment his headrest worked loose, forcing him into the pits.
I understand why people are voting for Stroll: his first podium after a shaky start in the sport – and a solid weekend – but this race was a lottery, none of the podium were exceptional.
Hamilton’s pole lap was a voyage into the unknown, in which he demolished the competition – they all fell by the wayside: Bottas 0.434, Vettel 1.2, Verstappen fifth place. In the race he way flawless and deserved the win under very trying conditions: repeated Safety Cars and a red flag, each one obliterating his lead; and keeping a cool head after being the victim of a road rage incident in which the offender was let off the hook. Despite all this, Hamilton was on course to win comprehensively, but for the really unusual headrest problem, something completely out of his hands.
This was another emphatic performance from Hamilton, and all the more remarkable given the struggle Mercedes had to find a set-up to get the tyres working.
Shortly before the race was red-flagged Hamilton had been hit from behind by Sebastian Vettel. The incident provoked an enormous amount of debate and could have further consequences as Vettel’s conduct is beeing examined by the FIA.
I don’t support this behavior at all. And while I don’t really like Hamilton’s calculated press responses most of the time, I agree that true colors showed up this weekend. Vettel always wanted to be seen as a cool-headed good guy, who condemns dangerous driving. Remember Vettel – Kvyat in China 2016?
Well, you gotta be consistent. If you believe Hamilton brake-tested you, raise the issue with the team and stewards, or talk to him eye-to-eye, like you did with Kvyat. Don’t ram a driver for crying out loud. It’s a miracle he wasn’t banned outright, and it was incredibly stupid to endanger his championship chances this way.
Daniel Ricciardo won the race from tenth on the grid following an early pit stop due to a brake problem. That’s an achievement which might ordinarily have earned him a lot more votes, but many felt it was clear Max Verstappen had been quicker in the same car:
I voted for Ricciardo not just because he won a difficult race but for his talent of making the best out of an awkward situation. I also think that the aerodynamics of the Red Bull helps his style of driving.
The Twitter verdict on the top drivers in Baku
Stroll’s surprise result was a talking point on Twitter, but not the biggest:
I know he got pipped on the line for 2nd today but amazing performance by Lance Stroll to hold it together & get a podium finish. At 18! #F1
— Mick Loizou (@MickMarJr) June 25, 2017
— Frank Bernardo (@1FrankBernardo) June 25, 2017
— Marc (@marc_slaughter) June 25, 2017
— Intellectual Punter (@LetIttRide) June 25, 2017
Devastated and elated for Lance Stroll. Drove with such composure, you would think he will kick on from here. #AzerbaijanGP
— Charles Rothwell (@charlierothers) June 25, 2017
— Paddy (@Karlimoor) June 25, 2017
Great drive @ValtteriBottas! From 20th to 2nd! You did cost me a point in my fantasy F1 though. Guess I can let you off 😜
— Lara Light (@LaraELight) June 25, 2017
Alonso actually scored points! Still not got over it! #AzerbaijanGP
— Tom Parkinson (@Parkins0n_) June 25, 2017
— Lauren 🌺 (@gin_elderflower) June 25, 2017
FIA data says that Lewis Hamilton didn’t brake test Vettel. Vettel insists he did. Best #f1 drama in a long time.
— Vince (@mr_vpw) June 25, 2017
— Blake (@junkfish) June 25, 2017
This Lance Stroll kid is going to have one heck of a career. Youngest (18) rookie to reach podium (3rd) in F1 Grand Prix 🇨🇦 #F1
— Erin (@Erin_Sports) June 25, 2017
What a blunder with the headrest from Mercedes! Hamilton would've won the race and been 1 pt ahead in championship. #AzerbaijanGP
— A J Ross (@ajross80) June 25, 2017
— Kimi Martinez #JB17 (@kimijb17) June 25, 2017
— A J Ross (@ajross80) June 25, 2017
The craziest #F1 race for sometime was won by Daniel Ricciardo ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Lance Stroll (I can't believe I'm typing that)
— crowdiegal (@crowdiegal) June 25, 2017
— vikthor (@uylokadishooo) June 25, 2017
— Afición al Motor (@Aficionalmotor) June 25, 2017
And Valtteri took my breath away on that last second! Congrats #AzerbaijanGP
— Lenny B. 🌹 (@lovelennylove) June 25, 2017
— JonnyB (@jb5alive) June 25, 2017
— Tim Glover (@TimGlover99) June 25, 2017
— GreenySport (@GreenySport) June 25, 2017
— Jules F1 Maniac (@GetMe2_COTA2017) June 25, 2017
— Filiberto Geoni (@Fixy7) June 25, 2017
By the way… was that a bonkers #AzerbaijanGP or what?! Credit to Lance Stroll – mature drive for an 18yo and unlucky not to get 2nd.
— Grumpy McGrumpface (@grumpyf1) June 25, 2017
Ok, but I'm tired of people saying that Lance Stroll is in F1 just because his dad paid a lot and bought his way in. You know what, anyone
— Deedee Soeboer (@deedeesoeboer) June 25, 2017
— Rachel 🌼 (@RachelWynn) June 25, 2017
— Rachel 🌼 (@RachelWynn) June 25, 2017
The Twitter verdict on Vettel and Hamilton’s clash
Unsurprisingly there was a lot more chatter about the collision between Vettel and Hamilton. There were far too many Tweets on this subject to include a large number of them below, but the selection below is fairly representative of the views which were put across. While some sided with Vettel, far more asked why he didn’t receive a much harsher punishment.
— Kyle Stephens (@Ky1e_S) June 25, 2017
— Christopher Bicknell (@chrisbicknell12) June 25, 2017
— BlaccNRedd (@BlaccNRedd) June 25, 2017
— by iberianmph.com (@p2pc2e) June 25, 2017
— Glenn368 (@Glenn368) June 25, 2017
Sadly though, vettel yet again brings animosity to the sport on an otherwise great weekend #AzerbaijanGP
— George Salthouse (@Georgey098) June 25, 2017
How has vettel escaped a multiple race ban for driving like that what a disgrace #f1
— ze_an8 (@se_an8) June 25, 2017
— Richard (@racitup) June 25, 2017
One thing I will say, even though I can't stand LH, Seb was completely in the wrong, his temper got the best of him #AzerbaijanGP
— Brad Sherry (@Simplyoncall) June 25, 2017
Vettel should be banned for a race after trying to crash under the safety car #AzerbaijanGP
— Colin MacNeill (@colin_macneill) June 25, 2017
if that's the only punishment vettel gets for that then @F1 is a joke.
— scott brown (@scottbr0wn) June 25, 2017
10 second penalty for Vettel was absurd, should have been disqualified for dangerous driving and negligence. His actions were not fit for F1
— Robert (@Robert44183163) June 25, 2017
Just catching up on the #F1 VETTEL should have been black flagged for deliberately ramming Hamilton… Disgraceful behaviour
— Adrian Elliott (@roverade) June 25, 2017
— F1-Ben (@F1_Ben_F1) June 25, 2017
Sebastian Vettal disgraced F1 today, he should have been Black Flagged
— IRobinshaw (@IanRobinshaw) June 25, 2017
Just watched this F1 race. Both Hamilton and Vettel were in the wrong. Lewis shouldn't run his mouth. Talk on the track.
— Jonathan Wehman (@jonathanwehman) June 25, 2017
— C.W. Kinsey (@Kinswah) June 25, 2017
— JZ (@JZJeffZ) June 25, 2017
— Will Higman (@thenotoriousH19) June 25, 2017
— Michael crosby (@mikeacrosby1985) June 25, 2017
Sebastian Vettel made a mistake, but how dare people suggest he intentionally drove into Lewis Hamilton — that is the real disgrace. #F1
— Max Turner 🍇 (@maxturnerus) June 25, 2017
Catching up with the #F1. Why did Vettel not get disqualified for deliberately hitting Hamilton?
— Dominic (@D_Rodders) June 25, 2017
— Neil Baker (@neilbaker2006) June 25, 2017
— Lachlan Hines (@LachlanHines24) June 25, 2017
Love watching Vettel have a meltdown when he is the one that is driving into others… never his fault #AzerbaijanGP
— Rodney Heron (@rodneyheron) June 25, 2017
Vettel has got to sit out a race or two for that #f1
— Dan V (@cobbledClassic) June 25, 2017
— IanL78 (@IanL78) June 25, 2017
— Alex Crouch (@Alex_Crouch_92) June 25, 2017
— Jezza_V (@Jezza_V) June 25, 2017
— IanL78 (@IanL78) June 25, 2017
Ridiculous behaviour from one of the best drivers in f1 and his punishment was lenient. What would he have said if the other way around?
— Richard Pearson (@E4BodyClinic) June 25, 2017
— Russell Harris (@sarriefan_uk) June 25, 2017
— RaMmYy MUFC (@rameshkannanm) June 25, 2017
Drivers have had race bans for causing lesser incidents than Vettel on Hamilton today. Shows that Hamilton has the psychological edge #F1
— Tom Nelson (@tomnelson96) June 25, 2017
If you're brave enough to insult the race director and slam another driver on purpose, have the courage to admit it! #f1
— Chaitanya (@ChaiAsInTea) June 25, 2017
In the normal world, Sebastian Vettel would have been disqualified after that race. Penalties are just so lenient. #AzerbaijanGP
— Ron (@roncharls4) June 25, 2017
And now finally see the 10 sec penalty, that is crazy. Hitting a driver intentional = instant black flag. Racing cars are not weapons #f1
— Kenny Stoltz (@KennyStoltz) June 25, 2017
Sebastian Vettel's a deserved multiple champion and funny & engaging too, but wheel-banging with Lewis wasn't on. Best f1 race in ages tho!
— Laurence Buxton (@islands4) June 25, 2017
After watching F1 highlights of Vettel disgraceful drive against @LewisHamilton, he should banned. Shame on F1. Were you caught sleeping?
— Kuku (@KukuDjamasi) June 25, 2017
Clear message to young racing drivers. it is acceptable to deliberately drive into another car. Speechless at such a pathetic penalty #F1
— Eric Lambert (@EricLambert) June 25, 2017
Any F1 fan who defends Vettel is a disgrace to the fanbase. He has no just reasons to do what he did. Hamilton doesn't deserve that
— Oliver (@OGlazebrook) June 25, 2017
The fact people are defending Vettel for his behaviour makes me lose hope in humanity. What he did was a disgrace, that's it #AzerbaijanGP
— Matthieu Mastalerz (@Mastaf1) June 25, 2017
Watching #f1 on delay… Vettel move to knock hubs against Hamilton clearly intentional and in any low series would be a black flag.
— Kenny Stoltz (@KennyStoltz) June 25, 2017
pretty much – he still came away with fourth – I think it’s a disgrace. I think he disgraced himself today, to be honest. #F1
— Nuella JesusGirl (@nuella93) June 25, 2017
Imagine even trying to defend Vettel over that, so deluded it's hilarious. #F1
— JTennant (@JackTennant10) June 25, 2017
People want Vettel to be DSQ. Jeez, it's not like he's done it in the first corner, at high speed, in a title-deciding race, ya know :D #F1
— Felipe Giro (@felipepgiro) June 25, 2017
I'm sorry but Vettels actions today will in no way encourage road rage they are f1 drivers it's a totally different field so bore off 😝
— Little Bear (@FerrariNana11) June 25, 2017
Fantastic F1 race today. How Vettel got away with a 10 sec penalty is shocking. He should know better. Should be at least a one race ban.
— Tony Walters (@tonywalters100) June 25, 2017
— Frank (@FrankMolenschot) June 25, 2017
It seems that it's now impossible to get disqualified in F1. #Vettel
#F1 Vettel deliberately drives into another car and is not banned from the sport. Disgraceful, ugly and childish
— Chris Kerwin (@chris_sw17) June 25, 2017
— James Cunnington (@jamescunnington) June 25, 2017
Vettel is a disgrace and f1 your a disgrace. How can you allow a driver to delibertely drive into another driver? Speed should not matter
— Warren Hemmingway (@warren7051) June 25, 2017
— Connor B Patterson (@cb_patterson44) June 25, 2017
Weak stewarding by @F1 officials today. Vettel should have been black flagged and made an example of or given 6 points incurring a race ban.
— AvantgardeAutomotive (@AvantgardeMB) June 25, 2017
Vettel's avoidance of the question in a follow-up interviews speaks volumes. Pretty sure a race ban is in order.#F1
— Tyler Heatley (@thecarbloke) June 25, 2017
What Vettel did to Hamilton is one of the most disgusting things I've seen in motorsport. A complete lack of gamesmanship #AzerbaijanGP
— Lachlan Waugh (@lachlan_waugh) June 25, 2017
— Scott Smith (@smithscottuk) June 25, 2017
let me get this straight @f1 VET gets the same number of penalty points 4 a deliberate crash as HAM did for reversing a ft in the pit lane
— Phil Thornton (@phil_thornton) June 25, 2017
— Andy Hone (@andyhone) June 25, 2017
— Sarah Oldknow (@SarahOldknowAct) June 25, 2017
When your mum texts you to say Vettel is a bad boy, you know 10 sec penalty wasn't enough.
Not upset just disappointed.#AzerbaijanGP
— Lady Simpkins (@ferrarichick84) June 25, 2017
— Jon Ratcliffe (@JontheManc) June 25, 2017
— Jonathan Gullis (@JEGullis) June 25, 2017
I think Hamilton was surprisingly slow out of the corner, Vettel was caught unawares, Hamilton entitled to control the pace at a restart #F1
— Tom Westrop (@TomWestrop) June 25, 2017
— Trent (@atxtrent) June 25, 2017
Can't believe Vettel rammed Hamilton either. Not the sort of thing you would expect in F1.
— Ben Hastings (@benjhastings) June 25, 2017
— fra (@bonnie_fd) June 25, 2017
— Mister Fixit (@gmwithers) June 25, 2017
I really enjoyed #AzerbaijanGP Hamilton brake testing Vettel, Seb single handedly steering into him, but now Ham ruins it with his bitching
— Ashling Desmond (@redactash) June 25, 2017
people like vettel will cause a death in the near future and the fat cats running F1 will not bat an eyelid you are all a complete disgrace.
— david Terry (@RealStroller) June 25, 2017
— Alec Parkin (@AlecParkin) June 25, 2017
Only Vettel will ever know if it really was deliberate or not. I want to believe the best in him though. The alternative is disturbing. #F1
— Laura Leslie (@LauraLeslieF1) June 25, 2017
Seb did bump Hamilton, but what about when senna took out Prost? Both drivers were naughty but could've been worse #AzerbaijanGP
— Aaron Markham (@aaron_m99) June 25, 2017
— Andy Hughes (@Derek_Diggler) June 25, 2017
As much as it kills me VET was wrong 4 his antics 2day and got off lightly but i like tat tat trait in a driver. #AzerbaijanGP
— barrymcmanusF1 (@barrymcmanus51) June 25, 2017
Vettel should be disqualified after todays #AzerbaijanGP and hamilton also needs a small penalty
— Sebastian (@Agsspecdown) June 25, 2017
— Car Racing Central (@caracingcentral) June 25, 2017
Vettel driving into Lewis from the side 100% intentionally. Absolutely pathetic. So that's how a 4x F1 world champ behaves. #AzerbaijanGP
— Alex Oldham (@alexanderoldham) June 25, 2017
Hamilton and Vettel rivalry good for F1. What happened today was comedy though. Daft from Vettel.
— Vivek (@VivekRaju8) June 25, 2017
— Gary Price (@gsp981) June 25, 2017
Vettel needs to own up to his mistake. Data showed Lewis did nothing wrong unlike Vettel who sideswiped him in a fit of petulance #F1
— Victoria F (@CurvedOpinion) June 25, 2017
No idea how Vettel has gotten away with such a light penalty #AzerbaijanGP
— Tomo (@Tomo_Hyde) June 25, 2017
2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix
- Vettel accepts Hamilton did not brake-test him
- “Lost all respect for the FIA” – Hamilton endorses fan’s view on Vettel ruling
- Vettel issues formal apology for Baku clash with Hamilton
- Vettel avoids further sanction over clash with Hamilton
- ‘No change’ at Force India: Drivers still free to race despite costly Baku clash