Lance Stroll

Stroll rewarded with shoey after first F1 podium in Baku (VIDEO)

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Lance Stroll was “lost for words” after becoming the second-youngest Formula 1 podium finisher in Sunday’s chaotic Azerbaijan Grand Prix, crossing the line third for Williams.

Stroll qualified eighth in Baku before managing to rise up the order as a race of attrition set in at the front, with title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel both dropping back after coming to blows.

Stroll was left running second behind Daniel Ricciardo once Hamilton had pitted for repairs and Vettel had served his penalty, but had Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas bearing down through the closing stages.

In a drag race at the line, Bottas nosed ahead of Stroll by just 0.1 seconds to deny the Williams driver P2, but he was nevertheless able to hang on to third place.

Coming just two weeks after his maiden F1 points finish and following a barrage of criticism in the early part of the year, Stroll was overjoyed with the result.

“I’m just lost for words right now. I don’t even know what to say,” Stroll said.

“I can’t quite realize what just happened. It was a hectic race, people crashing and we stayed out of trouble, I kept my head cool and took it to the end.

“I lost out to Valtteri in the end. I reckon that was probably one of the closest finishes of all time! We were side-by-side across the finish line.

“What a race. I couldn’t believe coming into the weekend that I would be standing on the podium, it’s so amazing.”

Joining race winner and shoey extraordinaire Ricciardo on the podium, Stroll became the latest driver to take part in F1’s strangest tradition – albeit only after Ricciardo checked he was old enough.

Stroll completed the shoey like a champ, and was also informed that he had won the online Driver of the Day vote.

The result also saw Stroll became Canada’s first podium finisher since Jacques Villeneuve in 2001, as well as being the youngest ever rookie to finish in the top three.

Stroll missed out on the overall youngest podium record by 11 days to Max Verstappen, who won last year’s Spanish Grand Prix during his second season of racing in F1.

Stroll feeling ‘comfortable’, ‘confident’ in car after Baku Q3 run

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Lance Stroll delivered the most impressive qualifying run of his fledgling Formula 1 career so far in Baku on Saturday, charging to eighth place on the grid for Williams.

Stroll, 18, made his F1 debut at the beginning of the year with Williams after stepping up from Formula 3, but endured a baptism of fire as he failed to score any points through his opening six outings.

The Canadian charged to his maiden points finish last time out at his home race in Montreal, finishing ninth overall, and carried that momentum through to qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Stroll reached Q3 for the second time, beating his Chinese Grand Prix display by taking eighth spot, as well as outqualifying teammate Felipe Massa for the first time.

“It was a good day, and it has been a good weekend. I am comfortable and confident in the car,” Stroll said.

“I like the circuit and today everything fell into place. I missed a bit in Q3, and I think there was some more that was possible there, as we were four-tenths off compared to my lap in Q2.

“In Q3, because the track temperatures had dropped, it was hard to get the tires ready in one lap and also because of the red flag, we only had time to do one push lap.

“Sometimes around here it is better when you do one push lap, then another prep lap and then another push lap. But it is still a great result and I am just happy for the team.”

Lance Stroll scores first points at home in Canada

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Williams Martini Racing’s Lance Stroll has endured a baptism by fire of sorts in his debut season in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship. With three DNFs in the first three races of the season, and a season-best 11th at the Russian Grand Prix, Stroll has been vastly overshadowed by veteran teammate Felipe Massa, who has two sixth-place finishes and two ninth-place finishes to his credit.

However, Stroll’s home race at the Canadian Grand Prix marked a drastic turn in fortune for the 18-year-old Canadian. Despite qualifying 17th, Stroll drove a calculated and solid race to emerge in ninth at the checkered flag to score two points, the first points of his Formula 1 career.

“I wish it came a bit earlier but it happened!” an elated Stroll told NBCSN’s Will Buxton. “It’s been possible for a long time, things falling into place and getting everything to work. No technical issues, no contact; just clean air and knowing how to do what we need to do.”

MONTREAL, QC – JUNE 10: Lance Stroll of Canada driving the (18) Williams Martini Racing Williams FW40 Mercedes on track during qualifying for the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 10, 2017 in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

In coming from 17th, Stroll knew he needed a car with strong balance and straight-line speed in order move his way forward. And, as he further explained to Buxton, the Williams Mercedes was more than up to the task. “The balance was good all race. I knew we had good straight line speed. I chose my overtakes at the right time. I stayed patient. My engineer gave good communication. Took it to the end here which was great.”

Stroll finished by emphasizing his joy in securing his first career points in his home race. “It means the world to me. To finish the race, see the fans and the Canadian flags up the air. It’s very special.”

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Stroll hits back at ‘haters’: ‘Drivers can’t just buy their way into F1’

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Lance Stroll has hit back at critics suggesting his Formula 1 seat with Williams was gained due to family money instead of talent, saying that drivers cannot buy themselves a place on the grid.

Stroll, 18, stepped up to F1 at the start of 2017 following a victorious FIA Formula 3 title campaign last year, but is yet to score any points through his first six grands prix.

Aiding Stroll’s rapid rise into F1 was his father, Lawrence, a billionaire investor, which allowed the young Canadian to enjoy private testing program with a 2014-spec Williams F1 car that made him the best-prepared rookie since Lewis Hamilton in 2007.

Stroll was directly asked in Thursday’s FIA press conference how he handled the perception that he was on the grid based on family money rather than talent, to which he joked: “Never heard that question before!” before tackling it honestly ahead of his home race weekend in Montreal.

“You know, it’s always going to be said and asked, about where I come from and all that. But I focus on the positives,” Stroll said.

“I’ve won the championships to arrive here, Formula 4, Formula 3 European Championship, I got my 40 Superlicence points that the FIA has placed just for that reason. Drivers can’t just buy their way into Formula 1, you have to actually go out and get the results.

“There are always going to be haters, there is always going to jealousy, that’s just the nature of sports in general. When you win it’s expected and when you have hard times people put you down and that’s how it goes.

“But I don’t focus on that. I know who is important around me and those are the people I listen to. The rest of the noise you just have to block it out, it’s out of your control. You have to know who you need to trust around you and that’s all you can focus on and then it’s about going out on track.

“Sometimes there’s hard times, sometimes there’s good times but you just need to always go to the next weekend and be positive and try as hard as you can and that’s how I go about my business.”

Lance Stroll ready for ‘special’ home GP weekend in Canada

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Canada’s Lance Stroll is relishing his first home grand prix appearance this weekend as he looks to pick up his maiden top-10 finish in Formula 1.

Stroll, 18, made his F1 debut at the start of the year with Williams after stepping up from F3 at the end of last season.

The native of Montreal is yet to score any points through the opening six races of the year, recording a best finish of 11th at the Russian Grand Prix.

Stroll will become the first Canadian F1 driver to race on home soil since Jacques Villeneuve appeared at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2006, and is relishing the chance to delight a home crowd.

“Montreal is going to be amazing for me, as this is not only my home race but it is also held in my home city, which is buzzing while the race is on,” Stroll said.

“I grew up about 20 minutes away from the race track, so this will be something special and not many people will get to experience that feeling.

“As a kid I attended the race pretty much every year, then missed a few years while living in Europe, but was back there last year.

“For me it is a pure racing event. It is not the flashiest grand prix, as the paddock is small, but it is cool, unique and old school. The fans are really close to the track, the grandstands are huge and the run off areas are not massive, but I love that and hope it doesn’t change.”