Lance Stroll had a Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to forget as the Canadian was forced to retire from the race on lap 18 on Sunday (March 19).
Stroll was involved in a thrilling battle with Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz when Aston Martin brought him in to put him onto the hard compound tyres. Shortly after, he was told by his team to stop his car due to an apparent technical issue, which resulted in the deployment of the safety car.
Replays showed Stroll pulling over behind the barriers, away from the track, and into the run-off area in a completely controlled manner. However, the FIA decided to deploy the safety car at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
This meant the race got neutralized, triggering a flurry of pit stops as drivers looked to take advantage of the situation.
Many have since debated that the safety car was the wrong call, reasoning that Stroll had parked his car well off the racing line. The FIA have now clarified the reasons behind the call.
In a statement, they said:
“From the initial camera angles available the exact position of the stopped car was unclear, and therefore the Safety Car was deployed as the safest option.”
Lance Stroll expresses disappointment at Saudi Arabian GP retirement
Lance Stroll has expressed his disappointment at being forced to retire early from the 2023 Saudi Arabian GP.
After finishing the season-opening Bahrain GP fifth, expectations were high from Stroll and Aston Martin heading to Jeddah. However, a technical issue forced the Canadian to retire from the race just 18 laps in.
Speaking about his retirement after the race, Stroll said:
“It was disappointing to retire from the Grand Prix after such a promising weekend. I had a great start and really enjoyed overtaking Carlos [Sainz] around the outside of Turn 13. We were in a good position on track and I was having fun pushing, but then I started experiencing reduced power and got the call to stop the car."
"It is not the result we wanted, but we leave Saudi Arabia knowing that we have a very competitive car and we will pick up the fight next time out in Australia.”
Lance Stroll and Aston Martin will be hoping to do much better when F1 heads to Australia at the end of this month.