Lance Stroll scores first points of 2018 in Azerbaijan

Canadian Lance Stroll scored his first points of the season when he finished eighth on the streets of Baku at the Azerbaijan F1 Grand Prix.

Lance Stroll scores first points of 2018 in Azerbaijan
Esteban Ocon, Force India F1 and Lance Stroll, Williams on the drivers parade
Lance Stroll, Williams FW41 Mercedes
Lance Stroll, Williams FW41
Lance Stroll, Williams
Lance Stroll, Williams FW41 Mercedes
Lance Stroll, Williams FW41
Lance Stroll, Williams FW41 pit stop
Lance Stroll, Williams FW41 Mercedes

Lance Stroll reached Q3 and qualified his Mercedes-powered Williams FW41 in 10th place, a significant improvement after a problematic start to the season. He made two pit stops, the latter one under the Safety Car, changing to a set of ultra soft tires.

At the restart, Fernando Alonso moved ahead of him in his McLaren, but Stroll was promoted back to eighth on the final lap due to Valtteri Bottas picking up a puncture and retiring from the lead.

“I’m pretty happy. It’s a big boost; we’ve been working really hard over the last few races. In that battle with Fernando [Alonso] at the end I think I should have held him there, but he surprised me into Turn 3,” the young Canadian explained.

“I struggled with speed on the straights. We really don’t have the speed compared to the Sauber on the straight for sure. We saw [Sergio] Perez finish on the podium and he was behind me after the first Safety Car with a very different strategy.”

Stroll admits that managing tire temperature is very difficult to achieve with the Williams. “We really struggled with that to be honest, probably our biggest weakness in the race, we recognised already in Barcelona that tire temperature for us is very sensitive thing, maybe worse than other cars,” he said.

 

 

He added that the race should have been red flagged to clean the debris of the Ricciardo/Verstappen collision. “I expected a red flag to be honest, was too much debris, way too much debris,” he declared. “I thought it would have been better for everyone as the tires were getting very cold also as the Safety Car was going so slow. It would have made sense to have a red flag. Everyone gets new tires and then go racing.”

One other weak point of the Williams FW41 is its relatively low top speed. On this street circuit with some long straightaways, it’s kind of bizarre that Stroll qualified well and finished in the points.

“We didn’t expect to be as competitive because of the straight line speed difficulties,” he said. “Maybe some of our problems in corners are going on for much less time because the corners are much shorter here as it’s pretty straightforward brake and turn. At other tracks, like Barcelona, you brake, brake and turn and that puts a lot of load and a lot more energy into the car. Here, we don’t have to do as much if that makes sense, so it just makes it a bit easier.”

Reporting by Phillip Horton

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