The Williams driver said he improved rapidly during his debut season last year. “I was a different driver at the end of the year to where I started at the beginning of the year in so many ways,” he explained, adding he needs to raise his game on Saturdays.
“Some of my weaknesses last year was I believe probably qualifying,” said Stroll. “With very little running that we had in practice sessions on the quali tyre and quali mode, it sometimes makes it challenging to then go into qualifying.”
“Also the car wasn’t always competitive in qualifying. Both of us were often getting knocked out of Q1. It never gave me a lot of time to actually improve because you do two runs in Q1, that’d be our qualifying. When you do Q2 and Q3 you get to become a better qualifier because it’s different practice, more tyres and then that helps for the next race.
“Also the balance of the car wasn’t really suiting me and I had a tough time driving around some of those problems. That was a bit of an issue last year but this year I believe we’ve made some steps in the right direction. It’s been a good winter of reflection and work in order to improve on some of those weaknesses.
“But at the same time last year I look at some of my strengths, scoring the points we scored, some of the results we had were incredible highlights. I want to build on that this year.”
Stroll was eliminated in the first round of qualifying 12 times last year compared to team mate Felipe Massa’s three Q1 eliminations. In 20 races Stroll qualified ahead of his team mate three times, including one occasion when Paul di Resta substituted for Massa at short notice.
Starting further down the grid made life more difficult for him last year, Stroll admitted.
“Qualifying is not where the points are, points are on Sunday. But if you’re not starting in a good position it’s pretty intense on Sunday. The weekend in general is pretty intense but it’s all positive energy, it’s all good stuff.
“You’ve got to gather your information together before qualifying, through the practice sessions, absorb all the information. Get the car suited to you and then when your head’s in the right place and the car’s working, everything pinpointed, the result is just the outcome of all that information.”
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2018 F1 season
- McLaren staff told us we were “totally crazy” to take Honda engines in 2018 – Tost
- ‘It doesn’t matter if we start last’: How Red Bull’s junior team aided Honda’s leap forward
- Honda’s jet division helped F1 engineers solve power unit problem
- McLaren Racing losses rise after Honda split
- Ricciardo: Baku “s***show” was Red Bull’s fault