Formula 1

Lance Stroll an ‘innocent victim of a clumsy lunge’ by Nicholas Latifi – Otmar Szafnauer

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Credit: Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team

Otmar Szafnauer labelled Nicholas Latifi ‘clumsy’ after an opening lap clash with Lance Stroll, with the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team driver finding himself spun around by the Williams Racing driver at turn one.

Stroll was minding his own business and was heading into the turn only to be turned around by his fellow Canadian, with the incident also damaging the Aston Martin driver’s front wing.

Szafnauer, the CEO and Team Principal at Aston Martin, says the incident ended the chances of Stroll scoring points, with the Canadian ending the day down in twelfth after struggling to make many gains.

“Lance was the innocent victim of a clumsy lunge by [Nicolas] Latifi at Turn One on the opening lap, which relegated him to P19 and caused damage to his front wing,” said Szafnauer.

“From there, although he passed both the Haas cars on lap two, he was never going to be able to recover to a points-scoring position; he did his best and ended up 12th.”

Szafnauer was pleased to see Sebastian Vettel climb from the back of the grid to claim the final point on offer in tenth, with the German making a decisive move for eleventh on lap fifty-two on Antonio Giovinazzi, which quickly became tenth as Kimi Räikkönen spun out of the top ten a lap later.

“Sebastian got off to a clean start and was running 12th, just ahead of Lance, for much of the last third of the race,” said Szafnauer.  “On lap 52 he passed [Antonio] Giovinazzi for 11th, a well executed move, and that became 10th on the next lap when Kimi [Räikkönen] ran wide ahead of him.

“A solitary World Championship point was scant reward for a fine drive, but our strategists made the right call to go for comparatively late first pit stops and we maximised all the opportunities available to us.”

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