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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.”

Williams offering Lowe ‘a different kind of stress’ to Mercedes

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Paddy Lowe says he is experiencing a “different kind of stress” with Williams fighting in Formula 1’s midfield compared to Mercedes, where he won three straight championship doubles from 2014 to 2016.

Lowe left his position as Mercedes’ technical boss in January before joining Williams, who he first worked for in F1, in March, taking up a senior management position and a share in the team.

Lowe was asked in Friday’s FIA press conference whether he felt more relaxed for taking up a new challenge in F1, no longer embroiled in a title fight but instead focusing on building an operation up to be at the front of the pack.

“People have said that I look more relaxed the last few months. I don’t know why that is,” Lowe said.

“When you are at the very front of the grid there is an expectation that you should win every race and if you miss a single one then people are asking questions and consider it to be a disaster then, of course, that does bring a certain level of pressure, I have to say!

“But I think I handle pressure pretty well, so it wasn’t a problem to me. I think the pressure for me in my new job is very different, but it’s still very present.

“We have a lot of work to do. It will be a long road; we take one step at a time to try to move ourselves forward. It’s a different kind of stress and maybe it appears differently on my face.

“But I’m enjoying it whatever. I always enjoy this job, in whatever context.”

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.”

Stroll crashes out of Monaco FP2, seeking PlayStation gains

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Lance Stroll’s difficult start to life in Formula 1 continued on Thursday in Monaco when he crashed out of second practice following an error on entry to Casino Square.

Stroll, 18, is yet to score a point through his rookie F1 season, and suffered another setback in Monaco on Thursday when he shunted his Williams into the barrier with 35 minutes to go in FP2.

Stroll was unharmed, but the incident acted as the latest setback through what has been a baptism of fire for the young Canadian in F1 despite significant efforts to prepare for his rookie campaign through private testing.

“The track is great and I was really happy with the car, but then there was the crash at the end. I just basically centered in looking for the limit, got onto the dirt a little bit and lost the rear,” Stroll explained.

“It was a typical street circuit mistake. I got into learning the circuit pretty quickly and I was happy with the day until then. What is good here is the tire seems to be hanging on quite a bit, so we are able to do multiple push laps.

“In FP3 I am just going to build up my rhythm in that area, but I think I know pretty clearly in my head what I did wrong. I am going to look at the little areas I can improve on for Saturday, as I know we can do that and have a good day.”

Stroll’s pursuit of added lap time may be aided by an unusual influece: his experience of racing around Monaco on his PlayStation game.

“I think corner eight and the last corner are the two places I need to improve on,” Stroll said.

“But it really annoys me because every time I play the PlayStation game it has always been those two corners that I couldn’t get right, and in reality it is still those two corners!”