Despite being denied a back-to-back chance of a podium in Mugello, Lance emerged fighting fit and ready for the Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom.
Lance kicked off running on Friday with a strong P5 and P17 in the two Free Practice sessions going through short and long fuel runs.
Saturday morning saw Lance again underline the strong pace of the RP20 in FP3 to kick off the day, as his 1.34.732s effort helped the Canadian secure P8.
A dramatic Qualifying session didn't bare good fortune for Lance. During Q2, a red flag was called due to a crash at Turn 4. Thankfully, the driver was unhurt, but it interrupted Lance’s quickest lap in the final minutes of Q2.
With only enough time for one push lap once the session turned green, Lance joined the queue at the end of the pit lane, raring to go for a final attempt to make Q3.
Sadly, there was a tough break for Lance as we had to switch the car off to protect the Power Unit from overheating - meaning he unfortunately only lined up in P13 on the grid, after a technical issue denied him a spot in Q3.
At the start of the Grand Prix, Lance – by starting outside the Top 10,was able to use a new set of Medium Pirelli tyres to make a blistering start to charge right up from P12 to P7 in the first few corners.
After immediately moving himself into points paying contention, he then launched a move around the outside of Leclerc around the outside of Turn 4, only for the Ferrari driver to tap the rear of Lance and send him into the inside barrier - eliminating Lance from the race on the opening lap.
It was a tough break for Lance, who looks odds on for another strong points scoring race - as the RP20 showed great pace with teammate Checo finishing a strong P4, with Lance predicted to be in the mix with his teammate.
Lance: “I made a great start to the race and I was up to P7 by the time of the collision. Having had the free choice of tyres, by starting outside of the top 10, we were in a really good place to execute a strong race and score plenty of points.
“Sadly, it wasn’t to be because my right-rear tyre got hit by Leclerc on the opening lap. I’m very surprised that he didn’t get a penalty because I left him plenty of room and he could have avoided making contact by not going so wide on the exit. I was on the edge of the track and couldn’t have done more to avoid him, so I’m disappointed that a careless move cost us a potentially good result.
“What’s done is done, and I’m ready to focus on coming back stronger in Germany next time out."
Lance will be aiming to strike back after being robbed of two very high points scores at the next round in the Nürburgring, for the Eifel Grand Prix on the 9-11 October.
Italian Grand Prix
September 12, 2021
Lance claimed P7 and six points at the Italian Grand Prix as Formula One’s second triple-header draws to a close.