Lotterer’s one-off F1 appearance ends after just a single lap

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Andre Lotterer’s one-off F1 appearance for Caterham at last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix came to an early end after the German was forced to retire following a loss of power at the end of the first lap.

The three-time Le Mans winner was confirmed to be replacing Kamui Kobayashi for the race earlier this week, with Caterham citing his experience as the main reason for acquiring his services.

Lotterer managed to outqualify full-time driver Marcus Ericsson despite only stepping in the car on Friday, and made a good start in the race on Sunday before being sidelined when he lost power.

“I didn’t even get to sweat unfortunately,” Lotterer joked after the race. “I was really looking forward to a good race and I had a good start, but then I went a bit wide at turn 17 and there was a sudden loss of power. The team and Renault will have to investigate this tonight and see what happened.

“It’s a shame, but I am pleased with my race weekend. I made no mistakes and did a reasonably good job.

“Of course it would’ve been fantastic to finish the race and do a whole grand prix, but it’s still been an amazing weekend. I can go home happy even though it didn’t really end the way I would’ve liked it to.”

Lotterer was quick to thank the team for giving him the chance to make his F1 debut at Spa, and he will now turn his attention back to his endurance racing commitments with Audi.

“I want to thank Caterham F1 Team for this amazing opportunity,” he said. “It’s been fantastic to experience Formula 1, I got a lot of support and the team has been great. It’s frustrating to have only completed one lap of the race, but this is motorsport and these things happen.”

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.