Seasoned Vettel inflicts Stroll’s fourth loss to teammate in five years RaceFans


As Racing Point turned into Aston Martin, the battle between Lance Stroll and new teammate Sebastian Vettel was one of the most intriguing clashes of the season.

Both were beaten by their respective teammates in 2020, especially in qualifying. How would Vettel react to being abandoned by Ferrari and how would Stroll compare to a quadruple world champion, easily his most competitive teammate to date?

Stroll had the best start to the year, qualifying and passing his teammate in Sakhir and Imola as Vettel played himself. As Stroll put Aston Martin’s first points on the board, it wasn’t until Monaco that Vettel scored for the first time with fifth place, while Stroll took eighth place.

In Azerbaijan, the two Aston Martin riders made good use of a longer first stint as Vettel temporarily inherited the lead before his first save. Stroll stayed even longer until he suffered a horrific tire failure along the pit straight and luckily was able to come out unscathed. Vettel did a brilliant job fending off former Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc to take second place and take a big advantage over Stroll, whom he held for the remainder of the season.

The gap could have been even greater. In Hungary, Stroll made a mess braking for the first corner in slippery conditions and crashed into Leclerc’s Ferrari, taking it with his own car in the process. Vettel finished third after the scrum and spent most of the race in second, chasing Esteban Ocon for victory to secure his second podium of the year – until he was disqualified for not producing sufficient fuel sample after the race. The loss could have been even more infuriating, as a slightly slow pit stop cost Vettel the chance to take the lead.

The tangled pair at the start in Monza

Vettel enjoyed a stroll qualifying streak over four consecutive laps on either side of the summer break, but Stroll put in the best racing performance when the race resumed, finishing ahead of his teammate at Zandvoort, Monza (where he dealt very firmly with Vettel in the first round), Sochi (where they faced each other again) and Istanbul.

Then Vettel turned the tide of the qualifying battle in the final third of the year, beating Stroll five straight Saturdays to end the season 13-8 on his youngest teammate. Stroll had his best result of the season with a sixth place finish in Qatar, which was the last time an Aston Martin driver finished in points.

Their first season together had returned to seventh place in the Constructors’ Championship, with Vettel winning the qualifying and points battles, the latter despite being disqualified in Hungary. But Stroll underscored his deserved reputation for bringing the car home regularly, ending the year with more ranked finishes ahead of his world champion teammate.

On the most important points, however, Stroll once again made a lesser contribution than the guy from the other garage, as happened twice with Sergio Perez and in his debut season alongside Felipe Massa. in 2017. This could be seen as an inevitable consequence of being paired with some very experienced teammates, but as Stroll finished the season with his 100th start, that explanation has surely reached its expiration date.

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Lance Stroll vs. Sebastian Vettel: key stats

Lance Stroll vs Sebastian Vettel: Who finished first in every lap

Lance Stroll vs Sebastian Vettel: qualifying gap

Times based on the last qualifying round of each race weekend in which both drivers set a time. A negative indicates Lance Stroll was faster, a positive means Sebastian Vettel was faster

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