Experienced Vettel inflicts Stroll’s fourth defeat by team mate in five years

2021 team mate battles: Stroll vs Vettel

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As Racing Point evolved into Aston Martin, the battle between the Lance Stroll and incoming new team mate Sebastian Vettel was one of the more intriguing match-ups heading into the season.

Both were soundly beaten by their respective team mates in 2020 – particularly in qualifying. How would Vettel react to being dropped by Ferrari and how would Stroll measure up against a four-time world champion, easily his most competitive team mate to date?

Stroll enjoyed the better start to the year, out-qualifying and out-racing his team mate at Sakhir and Imola as Vettel played himself in. While Stroll put Aston Martin’s first points on the board it took until Monaco for Vettel to score for the first time with fifth place, while Stroll claimed eighth.

In Azerbaijan, both Aston Martin drivers made good use of a longer opening stint as Vettel inherited the lead temporarily before his first stop. Stroll stayed out even longer until he suffered a frightening tyre failure along the pit straight, and fortunately was able to climb out unhurt. Vettel did a brilliant job of holding off old Ferrari team mate Charles Leclerc to claim second place and take a big points advantage over Stroll, which he held over the remainder of the season.

The gap could have been even wider. At Hungary, Stroll made a mess of braking for the first corner in the slippery conditions and slammed into Leclerc’s Ferrari, taking it and his own car out in the process. Vettel ended up third after the melee and spent virtually the whole race in second, chasing Esteban Ocon for the win to take his second podium of the year – until being disqualified for failing to produce a sufficient fuel sample after the race. That loss could have been even more galling, as a slightly slow pit stop cost Vettel the chance to take the lead.

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, Monza, 2021
The pair tangled at the start at Monza
Vettel enjoyed a run of out-qualifying Stroll over four consecutive rounds either side of the summer break, but Stroll put in the better race performances when racing resumed, finishing ahead of his team mate at Zandvoort, Monza (where he dealt with Vettel very firmly on the first lap), Sochi (where they clashed again) and Istanbul.

Then Vettel turned the tide of the qualifying battle in the final third of the year, besting Stroll on five consecutive Saturdays to end the season 13-8 up on his younger team mate. Stroll secured his best finish of the season with sixth place in Qatar, which proved the last time either Aston Martin driver finished in the points.

Their first season together had returned seventh place in the constructors’ championship, with Vettel winning the qualifying and points battles, the latter notwithstanding his Hungary disqualification. But Stroll underlined his deserved reputation for consistently bringing the car home, ending the year with more classified finishes in front of his world champion team mate.

On the all-important points tallies, however, Stroll once again made a smaller contribution than the guy in the other garage, as happened twice with Sergio Perez and on his debut season alongside Felipe Massa in 2017. That could be considered an inevitable consequence of being paired with highly experienced team mates, but as Stroll ended the season with his 100th start that explanation has surely reached its expiry date.

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Lance Stroll vs Sebastian Vettel: Key stats

Lance Stroll vs Sebastian Vettel: Who finished ahead at each round

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StrollQ
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VettelQ
R

Lance Stroll vs Sebastian Vettel: Qualifying gap

Times based on the last qualifying round at each race weekend in which both drivers set a time. Negative indicates Lance Stroll was faster, positive means Sebastian Vettel was faster

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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33 comments on “Experienced Vettel inflicts Stroll’s fourth defeat by team mate in five years”

  1. Well done Stroll, wouldnt have thought he would win this season with a 10-7, though no big highlights as his team mate.

  2. Was this article written to support a preconception about the performances of the Aston Martin pairing? I searched the article for the actual points totals of the two without success. Hmm, wonder why the whole premise of the piece was missing?

    Answer perhaps – only the Ferrari and Alpine drivers finished proportionally closer to each other than the A-M. Spoils the ‘Lance as a failure’ argument a bit?

    1. If you couldn’t find the points tally, I suggest reading it again…

      On your arguement, Stroll’s career is curated by his dad . As the article suggests (maybe read that last paragraph again) He is constantly put against experienced drivers so he can improve himself. Therefore, it is not suprising he gets outscored by his teammates.

      1. Oh yes, my bad, thanks…Alberto. I was expecting it in the text.

        I did read the last paragraph, but it was at odds with the article title. Clickbait..

        1. someone or something
          22nd December 2021, 0:18

          @frasier

          I did read the last paragraph, but it was at odds with the article title.

          The title:

          Experienced Vettel inflicts Stroll’s fourth defeat by team mate in five years

          The last paragraph:

          On the all-important points tallies, however, Stroll once again made a smaller contribution than the guy in the other garage, as happened twice with Sergio Perez and on his debut season alongside Felipe Massa in 2017. That could be considered an inevitable consequence of being paired with highly experienced team mates, but as Stroll ended the season with his 100th start that explanation has surely reached its expiry date.

          According to my reading comprehension, the title tells exactly the same story as the last paragraph. You may not like the article’s conclusion, but calling it ‘clickbait’ is groundless.

          As for your argument concerning them finishing “proportionally closer to each other” than all but two pairings, that’s a pretty weak one considering how it hinges on a single race result. Without Vettel’s DSQ for a technical infringement that had little to no impact on his car’s performace, and the 18 points he would’ve brought home, that very stat would look completely different, going from 3rd smallest to 5th largest (Vettel scoring 79% more points than Stroll), leaving even the notoriously one-sided pairings at Mercedes (71% more for Hamilton) and McLaren (39% more for Norris) behind.

          If one single result (especially one that boiled down to random luck) can turn a stat on its head, it’s a bad stat.

  3. There’s nothing really to discuss with Stroll anymore that hasn’t already been said. He’s a solid 4/10 F1 driver who wouldn’t be anywhere near getting a seat if it wasn’t for his dad. At least he isn’t an embarrassment to the sport like Mazepin.

    1. I mean.. he’s improved enough to not be a regular contender for the worst driver on the grid. Luckily for him, there’s always one driver who’s been worse over the past 5 seasons, and that driver has lost his seat. I think you’re rating of 4/10 is pretty accurate though.

      1. I would give him 6\10, don’t think everyone would be this close or closer to vettel than he’s been.

  4. As Stroll Sr. described in the F1 podcast, a big reason to sign Vettel was so the team and Stroll Jr. can learn from someone who has won races (more than anyone except Hamilton and Schumacher) and world titles (more than anyone except Hamilton, Schumacher and Fangio; equal to Prost). So long as Stroll Jr. is improving, it’s not a failure to come up short.

    And to be fair, Vettel hasn’t exactly made quick work of the Canadian. He was honest about that, too, saying he hadn’t always performed as he had wanted to in that post-race radio message to his engineer. It’s always a bit tough to draw conclusions from a team towards the back of the midfield, given how their races tend to get caught up in the melee. But that said, Vettel delivered some impressive runs that Stroll couldn’t match, not only the two podiums (never mind the somewhat petty DSQ) but also in Monaco.

    1. I agree with your comments about Vettel, however the car hasn’t been that inspiring particularly the second half of the season to aspire both drivers I think.

      1. Alberto

        I agree with your comments about Vettel, however the car hasn’t been that inspiring particularly the second half of the season to aspire both drivers I think.

        The car was good enough to allow them to finish the season close in points to Alpine. The fact that Vettel-Stroll duo scored less than half of Alonso-Ocon combined points tally implies a considerably weaker line-up.

        1. someone or something
          22nd December 2021, 0:49

          The car was good enough to allow them to finish the season close in points to Alpine. The fact that Vettel-Stroll duo scored less than half of Alonso-Ocon combined points tally implies a considerably weaker line-up.

          In terms of logic, this conclusion is a trainwreck.
          I mean, it goes without saying that Alonso and Ocon belong in a different tier than both Vettel and Stroll. We saw how difficult Ocon made Pérez’s life at Force India, before losing his drive to Stroll’s money. And then we saw Pérez wipe the floor with Stroll, and both pairings lasted for two seasons each, so the verdict on Ocon vs. Stroll is pretty clear, and I don’t think we need to bring Alonso into this.

          But I digress.
          Saying that Aston Martin finished close in points to Alpine, but finished far in points from Alpine, therefore Aston Martin’s drivers suck, is … possibly the worst circular argument I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t even form a circle, despite using exactly the same data point(s) for both premisses. I’ve never seen anything quite like this before.

          But hey, let’s apply the same stack of logical fallacies to Williams vs. Aston Martin. Williams finished 8th in the CWC, Aston Martin 7th. That’s closer than Aston Martin was to Alpine. But: Williams have scored less than a third of Aston Martin’s points. Does that mean Williams had a considerably weaker line-up?
          Okay, Latifi may be a bit of a lightweight. A nice bloke, sure, but not exactly a younger version of Senna. So let’s assume Williams had only George Russell, and let’s double his points to make this a fair comparison. The Williams of the clone Russells would’ve scored 32 points, still less than half of what Stroll and Vettel achieved together. So, does this imply Russell is a considerably weaker driver than either of them?
          Of course not. Because this argument is flawed beyond salvation.

        2. someone or something

          Saying that Aston Martin finished close in points to Alpine, but finished far in points from Alpine, therefore Aston Martin’s drivers suck, is … possibly the worst circular argument I’ve ever seen.

          Which is not the argument above. The argument was:

          The car was good enough to allow them to finish the season close in points to Alpine. The fact that Vettel-Stroll duo scored less than half of Alonso-Ocon combined points tally implies a considerably weaker line-up.

          Aston Martin had the machinery performance to finish close in points to Alpine, but not the driving performance. This is the argument free from your strawman. That’s why you’ve never seen anything quite like this before. it requires a lot of bad interpretation skills to read a strawman from a simple argument like this!

          The Williams of the clone Russells would’ve scored 32 points, still less than half of what Stroll and Vettel achieved together. So, does this imply Russell is a considerably weaker driver than either of them?
          Of course not. Because this argument is flawed beyond salvation.

          Letting aside this interpretation conundrum, if you’re really interested to know some of the reasons to consider that Aston Martin had a car close to Alpine’s in raw pace, just notice that an Aston Martin car finished ahead of both Alpines in 10 races out of 22 this season. Additionally, 3 times the leading Alpine was followed home by the leading Aston Martin (French, British and Hungarian GPs), and 2 times the opposite (Emilia Romagna and Italian GPs). It does not only indicate that they were actually very close along the season but Aston Martin drivers had been very inconsistent, but also that they were outfoxed by Alpine on strategy in some occasions. Still, there’s one-lap pace comparisions that put Aston Martin close to Alpine, and AlphaTauri somewhat far from them, closer to Ferrari and McLaren, in the big picture of the 2021 season.
          Now you get why it wasn’t a “circular argument”? I was simply contrasting raw pace with what the team achieved along the season, and Aston Martin was left wanting, whilst Alpine definitively punched way above their weight if we apply the same measure, thanks to Ocon and specially to Alonso in the matter of driving strengths.

  5. Stroll had a decent season, his best in Formula 1, and did better than expected against Vettel who is still not at his pre-2020 Ferrari level. I think it is fair to say Stroll is definitely good enough for Formula 1 now, but not really good enough for a Formula 1 driver who has had five years to reach that level.

  6. English is not my first language but the title makes it sound like Vettel came out on top?

    I’m not sure that points alone are a good way of measuring performance over a season when the team in question isn’t guaranteed to finish in the points.

    Stroll beat Vettel 10:7 and that’s a very telling stat.

    1. I wouldn’t say 10:7 tells us that much – it excludes Vettel’s 2nd place in Baku because Stroll, who was miles behind Seb, crashed. It also doesn’t factor in that Seb finished 2nd in Hungary only to be DQed because they couldn’t get enough fuel out of the car.

      If you finish 12th with your team mate in 14th, that counts as “1” whereas finishing 2nd with your team mate 18th also only counts as “1.”

      It’s just one stat to be used in conjunction with all of the others rather than something to look at out of context.

      1. @petebaldwin

        It’s just one stat to be used in conjunction with all of the others rather than something to look at out of context.

        Exactly. The points tally is the most important stat, but if there’s a big difference on, for instance, race finishes ahead, it’s enough to put the main measure into some question for a performance point of view, as it might indicate that a driver was lucky to have score more points. But we always have to get the context to make such assertions.
        In this case, the difference favouring Stroll in races finished ahead is not big enough to be very conclusive, and he was somewhat luck to have that stat. But Vettel also had more luck in the points tally given his way higher ups (partially luck gifted), and would have even more had his DSQ not happened in Hungary, so probably luck roughly cancels out for both drivers, unlike for other drivers’ pairings this season, and Vettel had a significant but not convincing edge on Stroll overall.

      2. @petebaldwin

        Completely agree. The races where Seb finished in front of Stroll.. he was generally miles ahead. And, as. you mentioned Baku and Hungary results were not included in this comparison, in which he actually thrashed Stroll until he was black and blue. It’s another season where Lance has been falsely flattered by the scoreboard.

        I thought Mazepin was hands down the most rubbish driver on the grid this year.. but the next batch of poorest performers should definitely include Tsonuda, Latifi, Stroll and Raikkonen.

        1. @todfod
          Stroll was average at best, but still better than Giovinazzi, if we remove the pity people have for non-pay drivers losing seats and the disdain against pay drivers retaining their seats. Stroll was a poor qualifier, Gio was a good qualifier, but what means the most is executing races, which Giovinazzi did poorly, Stroll was half decent overall.
          Of course there’s a ton of excuses for Giovinazzi, but not all of them are reasonable ones. Bad strategy, for instance, is not. He failed to make a significant progress in taking care of his tyres along a race, so there’s a reason for him to end up with the usually inferior strategy.

  7. Keep in mind that Vettel had a lot of other bad luck affecting his races which is why it’s 10-7. It’s not as if Stroll genuinely beat him in 10 races. And I don’t understand why some races are not counted despite Vettel being faster and ahead in nearly all of them.

    Imola: pitlane start, 30s penalty, only driver not to make a mistake, one of the fastest. Highly likely he’d finish ahead.
    Baku: In no way would Stroll finish ahead of Vettel without the puncture.
    Austria: Kimi crashing into Vettel while Vettel is ahead is marked as a win for Stroll
    Hungary: Vettel should get this since he didn’t crash out of the race and was not DSQd because of his own error.
    Netherlands: blocked by Haas’ getting knocked out in Q1. Almost overtook Stroll who had an unimpeded quali. Pretty obvious that Vettel was just faster.
    Italy: Stroll cuts the chicane and comes out alongside Vettels rear wheels, but pushes him into the gravel. Ths can’t seriously be a case of Stroll doing better. Should’ve got a penalty honestly.
    Russia: Vettel falls back due to team strategy error. Stroll crashes and breaks his front wing but has the much better strategy.
    Brazil: Stroll no where near Vettel the entire weekend or race.
    Saudi: Vettel in top 10, 10+s ahead of Stroll and taken out by Tsunoda.

    So honestly Vettel should’ve finished ahead in a further 9 races, or maybe 8 at worst. Stroll did better at Portimao and Silverstone.
    So it should be Stroll-Vettel 7 – 15. But people always like to take things out of context and cherrypick what to count. So it looks like Stroll did better but Vettel was extremely unlucky.

    1. FS005
      Team strategy fails and being taken out is not always good excuses. A driver should be minimally proactive on strategy making and held responsible for the mistakes too, and on track incidents rarely will have only one of the drivers involved to blame. I’m sure a Stroll fan could give similar luck-related excuses to those on how and why Vettel finished ahead in points.
      But considering all that I agree that Vettel outperformed Stroll and there’s a big degree of luck involved in that 10-7 race finishes ahead stat against him. But including that reason of having his team-mate finishing ahead of him so often, being slightly more consistent despite not enjoying ups as high, that the case is probably for a not convincing enough outperforming of team-mate i.e. ahead of him but not with a big edge. Excuses rarely can go that far anyway.

      1. someone or something
        22nd December 2021, 1:19

        @rodewulf

        Team strategy fails and being taken out is not always good excuses.

        If you look closely at the comment, team strategy is blamed exactly once (I do agree it’s a rather weak argument, especially in the context of the Sochi race). And being taken out by another driver: also once. In Austria. Like this. I dare you to look at that footage and tell me your argument that “on track incidents rarely will have only one of the drivers involved to blame” has any relevance whatsoever in this case.
        That’s like dismissing the opinion that a driver was innocent in an accident involving a stray wheel of cheese by asserting that cheese is rarely if ever the reason for a DNF.

        1. someone or something
          This Raikkonen vs. Vettel Austria case might have been one of the closest to be clear cut, but most of other incidents are not. And probably Stroll also had been blocked on quali to bring it closer, so citing incidents only against one driver is unfair, very biased. It conveniently never mentions Vettel’s spins, like during the race at Zandvoort. Stroll did a better job there, then there’s lack of nuances. Some other obvious incidents weren’t the focus of the post, but they do matter.
          So whilst I don’t argue against the case that Vettel was better overall, his driving was too much inconsistent to allow himself the chance to outperform Stroll by a big margin. Too many points left on the table by both, unlike Alonso and Ocon, who should have been their closest rivals in the WDC given how Aston Martin vs. Alpine cars compare in raw performance.

          I dare you to look at that footage and tell me your argument that “on track incidents rarely will have only one of the drivers involved to blame” has any relevance whatsoever in this case.

          You tried so hard to see logic faults in others that it failed you here. The fact that such incidents are rare doesn’t imply it never happens in a given period of time. This was arguably one of those cases in which it happened, but does not invalidate the argument.

          1. someone or something
            And who said this argument was intended to the Austria incident in first place? I had the Monza incident between the two Aston Martin drivers in mind. This case was not as clear cut as that Raikkonen collision.

  8. Stroll did better than I expected or Vettel did worse, not sure what team decisions were made, if any, that we can’t see that has influenced the season results but I have not really noticed and favoritism for Stroll by the team.

    I hope for Vettel his 2nd season goes better in hopefully a better car else it will be another story like Raikonnen, a proven respected WDC that gets (almost) beaten by a lesser experienced and by most considered a lesser driver.

    1. @jelle-van-der-meer
      Aston Martin had enough of a car at least to allow them to finish the season close in points to Alpine. The fact that Vettel-Stroll duo scored less than half of Alonso-Ocon combined points tally implies a considerably weaker line-up.

      1. Wauw you continue to use the same – completely flawed – reason again.

        With this kind og logic you can “prove” anything – utter nonsense.

        1. @carstenb

          Wauw you continue to use the same – completely flawed – reason again.
          With this kind og logic you can “prove” anything – utter nonsense.

          It seems we have to go to the basics for some here to understand. Your text interpretation skills are low and yet you blame “completely flawed reason”, it’s amusing really.

          Aston Martin had the machinery performance to finish close in points to Alpine, but not the driving performance. They should have scored a number of points close to that of Alpine along the season given the car they had. The difference was due to their rivals having a better drivers’ pairing.
          If you’re really interested to know some of the reasons to consider that Aston Martin had a car close to Alpine’s in raw pace, just notice that an Aston Martin car finished ahead of both Alpines in 10 races out of 22 this season. Additionally, 3 times the leading Alpine was followed home by the leading Aston Martin (French, British and Hungarian GPs), and 2 times the opposite (Emilia Romagna and Italian GPs). It does not only indicate that they were actually very close along the season but Aston Martin drivers had been very inconsistent, but also that they were outfoxed by Alpine on strategy in some occasions. Still, there’s one-lap pace comparisions that put Aston Martin close to Alpine, and AlphaTauri somewhat far from them, closer to Ferrari and McLaren, in the big picture of the 2021 season.

  9. Very peaky performance from both drivers, and the team, over the season… with lots of penalties, failures and luck (both ways) skewing the metrics further. Very hard to properly evaluate, but I hope they get a bit of consistency next season – be good to see a proper mid-field scrap with Alpine, Alpha Tuari and Aston if they can all find a half decent baseline to work from (though the latter 2 will always have a handicap compared to Alpine’s driver line up).

    1. @joeypropane

      Very hard to properly evaluate, but I hope they get a bit of consistency next season – be good to see a proper mid-field scrap with Alpine, Alpha Tuari and Aston if they can all find a half decent baseline to work from (though the latter 2 will always have a handicap compared to Alpine’s driver line up).

      The fun part of new regs is that we don’t even know for sure if those teams will be in the midfield next season. It’s more likely that those will remain there, but now there’s a considerable chance for some of them getting up (or down) the pecking order.
      And Alpine in fact had the best line-up of the grid except Ferrari. If Tsunoda was somewhere near Gasly’s level at a constant basis, there would be a case for AlphaTauri being in the mix with them on best line-ups. Mercedes is set to make a jump with Hamilton-Russell pairing next season, however.

  10. Stroll is quite decent actually,.. Or Vettel is not that Great anymore.

    Car was quite a dog this year and by no means was Stroll outclassed by an all time great driver.

    He does make all other pay drivers look perticularly bad. Also seems better than drivers who are included based on nationality, surname, and other non racing criteria.

    Who was previous top pay driver? Perez is a name that comes to mind. Maybe in 5 more years will Stroll ever be that decent? Maybe?

  11. Good job by Stroll against a 4XWDC. If he keeps up his improvement, and Vettel continues to slide, Stroll might just have the measure of him next year.

    1. If he improves his qualifying, then I will have absolutely no doubt he will utterly DESTROY Vettel

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