Williams Martini Racing duo Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin are hoping to put their knowledge of the Circuit Paul Ricard to good use to aid Williams in the fight to move off of the foot of the Constructors’ Championship.
France has not had a Grand Prix in a decade, or a Formula 1 race at Paul Ricard for 28 years. However, Stroll took a win at the track on his way to the 2016 FIA European Formula 3 championship and Sirotkin has tested there extensively. With most of the field unfamiliar with the venue and Williams’ strength in a straightline, the pair may see this as an opportunity to score points for just the second time this season.
Although Stroll admitted to not liking the Paul Ricard layout, equipped with numerous configurations and runoff areas, he said that visiting new tracks is “interesting” for the drivers.
“I know the Paul Ricard track from when I drove in Formula 3,” he said. “I had a good time there and won a race, but I have to be honest because I can’t say I like it.
“It is just runoffs everywhere and I am not a big fan. However, it is always interesting to go back to somewhere I have raced before and see what it is like in a Formula One car.”
His team-mate Sirotkin, still without a point in 2018 despite some promising recent performances, warned against taking his familiarity with the circuit for granted, saying that circumstances change over the course of a race weekend. He remained coy about the team’s chances of a good finish.
“Paul Ricard is quite a well-known track for me,” the Russian explained. “I did thousands of kilometres there last year.
“I know the track quite well, but there are a lot of things that change over a race weekend that you never know. It’s a new track for everyone so it will be nice to see where we end up.”
Williams are in dire need of adding to their four points – scored in Azerbaijan by Stroll – this season, with Charles Leclerc and the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team enjoying a rich patch of form in the first half of the season.