Detroit Update: Helio leads in another race of dueling strategies

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Helio Castroneves came out ahead of Mike Conway after a cycle of green-flag stops and led at halfway of Race 2 of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit at Belle Isle Park.

Today’s race got off to a rocky start with an aborted rolling start and then two cautions within the first 10 laps. On the opening lap, Will Power went to the inside of Josef Newgarden at Turn 3 and made contact with the American, sending him into the barrier while collecting Graham Rahal and Justin Wilson.

Newgarden, Rahal and Wilson would continue on, while Power decided to pit under the yellow. However, Verizon IndyCar Series Race Control opted to hit him with a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact.

Then on Lap 10, Sebastian Saavedra brought out Caution No. 2 by hitting the barrier coming out of Turn 6. He would come to a stop on the backstretch with major front-end damage.

Race leader and pole sitter Takuma Sato was among several that chose to pit under this particular caution, handing the lead to James Hinchcliffe. With the field once again split into multiple strategies as they did yesterday, the race returned to green conditions at Lap 15.

Conway, who was the only driver to start the race on the primary Firestone “black” tires, proceeded to hound Hinchcliffe for several laps before he finally put the Canadian behind him for P1 at Lap 21.

Hinchcliffe promptly pitted, and Conway then built up a massive gap to his pursuers as he tried to help himself prior to going in for his own first stop.

By the time he made that stop at Lap 25, Conway had pushed his lead to more than 11 seconds, bringing back memories of his Belle Isle beatdown in last year’s Race 1. That gave the lead to, of all people, Power, who held it until his second stop at Lap 27.

Mikhail Aleshin inherited the lead from the Australian briefly before he too pitted and Castroneves moved up to the front. He and Sato pitted together on Lap 32 and Jack Hawksworth did the same on the next lap, which put Castroneves back in control of the proceedings.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.