Azerbaijan GP – Williams and Lance Stroll finished P3 in Baku, despite the 18 year old losing a position on the very last lap.
The Williams driver started the race from P8, maintaining position off the start. Moving up when Bottas & Raikkonen collided on Lap 1, before moving up more when the two Force Indias collided after the Safety Car withdrew on Lap 21. The two Williams were P3 & P4 after that incident, with Massa leading Stroll on track. However, the Brazilian suffered a suspension problem and was forced to retire, moving Stroll to P3.
Hamilton’s mid-race problem with a loose head rest resulted in an unscheduled pitstop that cost him several positions but moved Stroll up to P2.
The Canadian was over ten seconds ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas with ten laps to go, but the recovering Finn was on a charge and closed at a rate of over a second a lap. Heading into the final lap, Stroll looked as though he’d done enough to maintain a stellar P2 but was outdragged by the Mercedes on the long final straight as Bottas used DRS and the tow to blast past. Despite the last second disappointment, Stroll still claimed P3. This is the first podium finish for a Canadian driver since Jacques Villeneuve did so for BAR back in 2001.
It’s also Stroll’s second ever points finish, having claimed his first just two weeks ago when he finished P9 at his home race in Montreal. He is the youngest ever rookie driver to score a podium finish, and is just two weeks older than Max Verstappen’s overall record for youngest ever podium – albeit Verstappen’s wasn’t set during his rookie season.
“I’m just lost for words right now.” beamed Stroll afterwards. “It was such a hectic race and so much happened, but the team kept me cool on the radio, the pace was good, we took it to the end and stayed out of trouble. I can’t quite believe what’s just happened. We just lost out to Valtteri at the end there in one of the closest finishes of all time going side-by-side across the finish line.
Coming into this weekend I never thought I would be standing on the podium. It’s an amazing feeling and, for me, a dream come true. However, what happened today was a team effort and I can’t thank everyone enough for making this happen. I am just so sorry that I could not celebrate with Felipe, as that would have been the icing on the cake. I am sure without his problems he would have been up there with me.”
Lance on a special moment, and a special race#AzerbaijanGP #F1 #LS18 pic.twitter.com/6oUxApazgr
— WILLIAMS RACING (@WilliamsRacing) June 25, 2017