Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has claimed to feeling sorry for Racing Point driver Lance Stroll after the Canadian went from polesitter to race also-ran at the Turkish Grand Prix.
Stroll took his maiden pole position when wet qualifying conditions proved perfect for his car but after leading from the start he suffered mid-race tyre troubles due to what the team later discovered was damage to the front wing that sent him tumbling down the field to finish ninth.
Wolff’s Mercedes team benefitted from Stroll’s demise as Lewis Hamilton stayed out and managed his ageing tyres to race to a 94th career victory that sealed his seventh F1 title.
Wolff, however, showed compassion for Stroll. He said: "It’s a shame for Lance that he couldn’t drive it home. He was solid in front, far away from everybody.
“Nobody could have expected that the performance would drop off as it did. Not only on his car but on many others. If you push the tyre hard it started graining and after three or four laps there was no performance left.“
Mercedes supplies customer engines to Racing Point, and the Silverstone-based team has shot to form this season after heavily basing its car design on last year’s title-winning Mercedes machine.
Although Stroll dropped down the order, his team-mate Sergio Perez followed a similar strategy to Hamilton, staying out on old tyres and making it to the finish to secure the team the runner-up spot.
Those points were crucial in the race for third place in the championship behind Mercedes and Red Bull, and Wolff praised the team for their efforts in what was a difficult weekend for everyone on the grid.
“Obviously, Lance on pole showing his potential again and Sergio on the podium, they have done a fantastic job this weekend,” said Wolff.
“Look at the first couple of laps, they were 10 or more seconds ahead of everybody else. I’m pleased for them.“
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