‘Amazing’ podium ‘hasn’t sunk in yet’ – Stroll

2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Williams rookie Lance Stroll says his first ever podium appearance has not yet truly sunk in after taking third placein the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

In a chaotic race that saw multiple incidents and retirements, Stroll kept it clean around the tricky Baku street circuit to take his first ever podium appearance with a third place finish, having only just been beaten to second by Valtteri Bottas on the run to the finish line.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet. It’s so amazing,” says Stroll. “You dream about this moment your whole life, getting onto a podium. It all just happened so quickly.”

“The start of the race, the race was amazing – there was so much carnage. So much happening. But I just stayed cool, stayed in the moment, lap by lap. Just missed out on P2 in the end. It was such a close finish with Valtteri [Bottas], but he was just a bit too quick on that front straight with the DRS. Just missed out on P2 but, all in all, I’m happy for myself and the team. Amazing.”

Having been promoted up to second place following the drama involving Lewis Hamilton’s unscheduled pitstop and Sebastian Vettel’s penalty, Stroll was caught in the closing laps by Valtteri Bottas’s Mercedes, who ultimately passed the Williams on the run to the line with the help of DRS.

Despite the pressure, Stroll says that he was not phased in the closing stages of the race.

“I was just in the moment, I wasn’t thinking about all that,” says Stroll. “I was just thinking corner by corner, the same way I’ve been thinking my whole life, since I first started in karting. Of course I knew that the reward would be amazing, but at that moment I wasn’t thinking about that, I was just in the zone, doing my own thing. I was in a flow.

“There were a couple of moments where I touched the wall a little bit in Turn Three, so I was like ‘okay, keep it cool, bring it home’. But my engineer was giving me amazing communication the whole race, keeping me cool, keeping me calm, keeping me happy as well.”

The result makes the Canadian rookie the second youngest ever podium finisher in the sport’s history. After recieveing some notable criticism during the first seven races of his Formula One career, Stroll is enjoying this achievement.

“That’s why we do this, for these moments,” says Stroll. “It’s a love-hate relationship. You have hard days, good days, but these days feel so special.”

2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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    Will Wood
    Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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    29 comments on “‘Amazing’ podium ‘hasn’t sunk in yet’ – Stroll”

    1. I remember that in a comment after Monaco grand prix I said that this is a pretty tough year for Stroll to join and he obviously has issues warming up the tires, so he should get some extra time. Well after some points in Canada, a private test to work these issues, outqualifying Massa and scoring a podium at 18 years old, some commentators could actually cut him some slack.

      1. @afonic Yup, totally agree. I have to agree that I was equally as harsh on Stroll. I didn’t think he’d had it in him. Then again, he did win F3 last year (in his rookie season). So I stand corrected, because what he showed today was as good as Verstappen did last year in Spain. Stroll showed great skill and ability to perform under pressure, because let’s be honest: being chased down for 15 laps by a Mercedes, even if it isn’t Lewis, is quite the pressure.

        I do wonder however, how Bottas managed to overtake Stroll on that last stretch. I’m still looking for the right footage, but it seemed to me that Bottas somehow put the engine in quali mode, because the last 200-300 meters he suddenly surged past Stroll while he had trouble getting close enough in the previous 2 laps.

        Luckily in 2018 teams will have to account for every single ml of fluid in the car, be it gasoline, oil or anything other. No more burning oil in the Mercedes and Ferrari then. Mark my words, this will definitely harm especially Mercedes next year.

    2. He showed tremendous composure, and didn’t look like the shaky hands stroll from all the previous races. I guess meeting Rob Walker has transformed his f1 future.
      I do however don’t understand how he ended up losing 2nd, Bottas was very far.

      1. The Merc boost option… Stroll did a good lap, about same time as before. But Bottas just catapulted the merc to second with the quali boost option.

        1. man, these Mercs are insane on da straights

          1. Which reminds me, there’s a rumour that one of the teams has had to remove an additional oil reservoir which it is believed was used to inject oil into their engine and thereby provide an unfair advantage.

            No prizes for guessing which team, but needless to say, it will be interesting to see the progress made without this unfair advantage.

        2. @seth-space That’s quali mode. You can easily see on the replay footage that Bottas is slowly catching up and only in the last 200-300 meters he gets a surge of power and boom he’s passed. I hate it.

      2. Well… That’s what I thought too, until I realized that there’s nothing surprising in Bottas-in-a-Mercedes being one second faster per lap than Stroll-in-a-Williams. He’s not catching Stroll without the DRS though.

        1. @mxmxd @peartree Looking at the replay footage, it’s not just DRS since Bottas was already within that window the previous 2 laps and didn’t even manage to get next to Stroll. It’s clearly a sudden surge those last 200-300 meters, which is called “engine quali mode” in Mercedes terms or in our terms “burning oil in the engine”.

          1. Looking at lap tables, Bottas was faster than Stroll by 1s per lap in the last 6 laps.
            Consequently, he wasn’t in DRS range until the last lap, or else he’d have passed him well before the finish line.

            In other words, you came up with an alternate fact.

          2. Getting a boost in the last 200-300m is far too late, Bottas was faster through the last corner with faster acceleration from the exit than Stroll in the Williams. These moves always start before you get on to the straight the gap was closing and DRS amplified it.

    3. very nice, keep up progressing.

    4. Miltiadis (@miltosgreekfan)
      25th June 2017, 19:49

      Amazing result for Stroll,he silented all the critics in the last 2 races.His confidence will be massively boosted.A good stat for Williams occured today,they have been on the podium every time since 2014!But,it was great shame for Felipe…It could have been a double podium and we could have seen a nice battle,between Felipe & ”Bobby Ricc” for the win

    5. Andre Furtado
      25th June 2017, 19:53

      Pure luck. Any other driver would not have list 2nd place.

    6. The power of money and talent combined.
      I wonder why Mclaren can’t send Vandoorne to all these fancy race tracks with their 2014 car.

      Or is it because Mercedes took back their engines and the Hondas will only make that exercise a waste of time.

      1. I think the cars from 1995 to 2014 still have Mercedes engines/PUs in them wherever those cars are stored.

        1. 2014 McLaren should have Mercedes hybrid engine. I’m sure Mercedes wont want to leave them lying around.

    7. Shades of Maldonado’s win at Barcelona!
      Okay okay, I’ve been one of Billionaire’s son Lance Stroll’s biggest critics….
      …the jury is still out on his quality and wether he’s worthy of his place in F1 in my opinion, despite an admittedly great performance today

      1. I think Stroll is in the bottom-3 of drivers at this point. There’s no shame in that at his age, especially in a field where pretty much everyone is a legit F1 driver other than Jolyon Palmer. I think myself that he should be learning somewhere else than in F1, but if the plan was to get him in F1 ASAP, why not do so this year with totally new cars?

      2. …. In other words, Stroll might be the worst legit F1 driver this season. But he pretty much improved every race.

    8. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      25th June 2017, 22:34

      Wait, it’s not over. He’s going to win the DOTW poll!

      I can’t wait for Ricciardo to win the WDC this year while Verstappen crushes him but loses all points…

      Hopefully, Ericson will be 2nd and Chase Carey 3rd!

    9. Stroll kept his head today with a mature and clean drive, whilst a 4-time world champion threw his toys out of the pram in a display of utter petulance.

      Well done Lance, you’ve earned a fan today.

    10. Michael Brown (@)
      26th June 2017, 0:18

      Very happy about his performances in both Canada and especially this race. Here’s hoping he keeps up this form rather than being a one-off like Maldonado.

    11. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      26th June 2017, 2:57

      An impressive drive from Lance but I think it’s too early for him to taste this kind of success. You have to work hard to earn this and just like his entire career, he hasn’t really had to earn it.

      I think it would have been better for him to grind it and earn his stripes over the years. It’s important for him to win the respect of the paddock on his own slowly. He’s going to get more tries than the average drive.

      1. @freelittlebirds, I thought the same thing. Hopefully this early success won’t go to his head. Mighty mature drive from him. I’m so pleased for him. Let’s hope he just keeps his feet on the ground and keeps plugging away.

    12. been bought off too?

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