Ill Stroll unable to drive because “he couldn’t get off the toilet”
Stroll was feeling so uncomfortable this morning that he eventually told the team that he couldn't drive at all today.
Szafnauer says Stroll wasn't feeling well in the days after the Russian GP and was hit by an upset stomach on Thursday evening in Germany. Stroll's car stayed in the garage during the third RP, but reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg arrived in time to drive it in qualifying and he will start from 20th (and last) grid position.
Szafnauer said that while Stroll is not feeling well, he tested negative for COVID-19.
"He hasn't felt well since Russia," said Szafnauer. “I think he had a cold. At first we thought, "Well, you'd better get tested for the virus." We tested it several times, including pre-event testing for this race. And he came back negative three or four times. He doesn't have the classic COVID-19 symptoms, he just doesn't feel good about himself.
“And last night he had a bit of an upset stomach. So he was in the bathroom the whole time. And he said, “I've lost a lot of fluids and I can't get up from the toilet long enough to get into the racing car.” I don't know if he's eaten or if it's something like a belly bug. He just said, “I just don't feel ready for it. We'll have a duplicate header soon. And I'd rather rest and prepare for it. "
“We were hoping that he would be better. He had flu-like symptoms. Just not good in himself and unable to exercise, and now he said, whatever he was eating or a belly bug, "I can't do it." We have a doctor to take care of him and when he's ready to go, he will go home. "
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Szafnauer said the final decision that Stroll would not drive was made shortly before training, which is why Hulkenberg was not there.
Szafnauer added: “Thirty minutes before the third RP he was still thinking, 'I want to do this. 'But then he thought,' Well, if I don't get better I have to qualify and then I 'I have to race. “And it's the race he wasn't really looking forward to in the state he was in.
“He was hoping he could get up from the toilet and come in. But it was 30 minutes before the third RP. Otherwise we would have called Hulkenberg the day before yesterday and he would have completed the third RP. "
Fortunately for the team, Hülkenberg was in Cologne and planned to go to television in time for qualifying.
"He was on his way here anyway, I think he works for RTL because I keep in touch with him," said Szafnauer. “So I knew he wasn't far away. I called him and said, "How far are you?"
Szafnauer admits that jumping into qualifying was a big challenge for the driver: “It was a big question and we're only grateful that he achieved the 107% rule. We wanted to do that so that he could race tomorrow. He has a decent racing car under him. He's done a couple of laps now. And if he gets off to a good start, he has a chance for points.
"We've made a few changes to the car since the last time he drove it. He was surprised at the changes we made. He said it made the car feel different. He'll have to get used to it. Overall, he was glad the balance is wrong. " It's not that far away. He said some of the changes we made surprised him. If you are not used to driving the updates we brought to the car, you will definitely go slower. "
Szafnauer said that if Hulkenberg had not been available, Stoffel Vandoorne, the team's other designated reserve driver, would have gotten a chance.
"He was in the paddock," he said. “He had a negative COVID test and was ready to go. We only had his place here with Nico, we know exactly where the pedals are going.
“We don't have to adjust the pedals and some other things that we would have had to go through with Stoffel. So it was easier. "
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