Abu Dhabi hosted the final round of the 2020 season at the Yas Marina Circuit.
Lance hit the ground solidly with P6 and P10 in the two Friday Free Practice Sessions in the RP20, setting up well for Qualifying on Saturday.
The Canadian made it through comfortably to Q3 and was one of the first drivers on track in the final session of Qualifying on a set of New Soft tyres and shot up to P2 initially with a 1.36.196 effort.
Lance was shuffled down the order before his second run, but he climbed into an eventual starting position of P8 on his second run completed in 1.36.046.
Starting on the Soft tyre, Lance made his normal good start -but the short run into Turn 1 denied him a chance to maximise the opportunity on the opening lap.
He held position early on, until sadly teammate Sergio Perez was forced to retire from the race due to a technical issue which triggered a Virtual Safety Car and then a full Safety Car period.
Lance pitted on Lap 10, but he was held up by Carlos Sainz Jr on entry into the pitlane, costing significant time. Sainz was placed under investigation but was later cleared by the stewards.
The Canadian returned to the track in P10 but his second stint was heavily affected by the two Ferraris being ahead of him as a result of the pitlane time loss.
He then traded places with Leclerc on the back straight through to Turn 11 on multiple occasions, but Lance made the move stick on Lap 19.
Lance would then fall behind AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, but he rose back to P9 after the off-strategy Sebastian Vettel finally ended his long-running first stint.
He remained in P9 until the very last lap, only for Renault’s Esteban Ocon to force his way past, despite Lance defending valiantly on a fading tyres.
At the chequered flag, Lance held on to bag the final point of the season of a crazy 2020!
Lance: “That was a tough race today and we were on the backfoot once Checo had to retire through no fault of our own. It then caused a safety car, which I’m not totally sure was the right decision, and then there was the incident with Sainz holding me up in the pitlane.
That cost us time, but we still struggled at times in the race. There were moments when our pace was strong, but it wasn’t consistent enough.
The tyre life and temperature also dropped off significantly at the end, which cost us a place to Esteban [Ocon]. We need to look into why that was the case.
It’s a shame that we weren’t able to take P3 in the Constructors’ Championship because I think everyone in the team deserved it for all their hard work.
We’ve had some real highs this year and there’s been missed opportunities too – so there’s plenty to reflect on and improve in the future.
It’s disappointing right now, but we need to remember that the team has an exciting future beginning in 2021 as the Aston Martin Formula 1 Team and that there will be more good days to come.”
French Grand Prix
June 18, 2021
Lance finished Friday in P16 as Formula One returned to Paul Ricard for the French Grand Prix.