How a “bad call” left Stroll on wrong tyres in Bahrain qualifying

A miscommunication in the Racing Point F1 team cost Lance Stroll his shot at getting into Q3 in Bahrain and left the Canadian stranded in 13th on the grid.

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Turkish GP pole man Stroll had been an encouraging second in Q1, after a strong second run left him behind only Lewis Hamilton – who went on to take pole.

The mix-up was a blow for the Silverstone team in its battle for third in the constructors’ championship on a day when both Renaults were inside the top 10. Stroll used up a set of medium tyres in Q1, and then he had another new set for the start of Q2, in common with most other runners, as teams attempted to avoid having their drivers qualify and start on the less favoured soft tyres.

However, a red flag caused by Carlos Sainz’s spin meant that he had to abort the lap. When the session restarted, he went out on the same, now-used mediums, while rivals fitted a fresh set.

He believed that there was still time to pit and use softs for a final run to get into Q3 if his time on the mediums was not good enough. Stroll suggested that, had he known there was only time for one run, he would have have opted for new softs, rather than the used mediums.

“We had the wrong tyres on the car,” he said. “I think we should have been on the softs, not on the mediums. It was no one’s fault. Between me and the team we have to look back at it. That just cost us.

“There was a miscommunication on timing, I thought we would have had time for two runs, but we only had time for one run, and it was on an old set of mediums, because we used one in Q1, and then we did a lap before the red flag in Q2, and then we went back on that same set.

“The others had a new set, and there was no chance to even get close. Unfortunately that was a bad call.”

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His teammate Sergio Perez qualified fifth, behind only the Mercedes and Red Bull drivers.

“It was a really good qualifying today,” said the Mexican. “I think what really made our qualifying was Q1, actually, getting through on one set, and then being committed to our strategy, we were clear what we wanted to do for the race, to be starting on the medium.

“I think that also made a good difference for us. I think tomorrow it’s a lot to play for, a good start, good strategy, we can get a lot of points.”

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