Painful qualifying ended with a penalty, a start at the back of the grid and bad luck at the start of the race did not bode well for Lance Stroll. Under the circumstances, that ninth place finish, along with two ranking points, is about the best news imaginable.
“It’s better than nothing”, launched the Quebecer at the end of the afternoon, before recalling that each point is precious for the constructors’ championship.
“We made the best of our bad luck,” he said.
On lap 12, a tire puncture on George Russell (Mercedes) required the exit of the safety vehicle. Several pilots took the opportunity to go through the pits. But Stroll had only just been there. His stop therefore made him lose more time than his opponents, which cost him two ranks.
He then orchestrated his comeback, notably thanks to a team strategy that paid off. He also managed a late overtaking, on the very last lap, which allowed him to overtake Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) to snatch one more point.
He had been working on this maneuver for a long time, in a four-way fight with Bottas, Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris. The latter, however, got out of the equation by receiving a five-second penalty.
“My tires were gone after 55 laps and I was putting pressure on him, it wasn’t easy to pass him,” Stroll said. But [Bottas] made a small mistake in the last chicane, he blocked me a bit and I had a better exit than him. »
“I felt good in the car, we had good speed,” he said. But it was still a tough weekend. I’m already focusing on Austria [in two weeks], I can’t wait to drive there. »
The Montrealer also returned to the penalty imposed on him on Saturday after blocking Esteban Ocon, which made him drop three places on the starting grid. He cited the “so difficult” conditions, namely sometimes heavy rain, as well as poor tire choice. “It’s always hard to judge,” he said. But I blocked it. In the end, that’s how it is. »
With 37 points, Lance Stroll now sits eighth in the Drivers’ Championship, 80 points behind Aston Martin team-mate Fernando Alonso.
By scoring six points thanks to a surprising seventh place, Alexander Albon surpassed the total points (5) he had amassed in 29 races since joining Williams last season. It is even the best result for a driver from this team for almost two years. Visibly satisfied afterward, Albon said he saw his car provide him with “good pace” all weekend and was pleased that the one-pitches strategy had paid off. His teammate Logan Sargeant had a less fortunate Sunday, he was forced to retire after just six laps due to a mechanical problem.
Starting in the middle of the grid after tumultuous qualifying, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. saved Ferrari’s weekend by taking fourth and fifth places, respectively. They, too, took advantage of a one-stop strategy. The start of the season is frustrating for the Scuderia, which has only touched the podium once so far. Very critical of his team the day before, Leclerc seemed reassured this time by his performance and that of his teammate. However, he was careful not to draw hasty conclusions on the adjustments made by the team to its single-seaters. “We like our pace, but I prefer to be careful, because Montreal has a particular track,” he warned. Let’s wait for Austria to confirm what we saw this weekend. »
Another notable comeback was that of Sergio Pérez. Max Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate had to start from 12th place, but moved up six places. However, he never had a real chance of joining the two Ferraris in front of him. Although several competitors would dream of this sixth place, it is Pérez’s second worst result this season. After two wins and two second places in the first five races, he was left off the podium in the last three. In a press briefing, Fernando Alonso also said he was confident of joining Pérez in the driver standings. The biggest fall of the day also went to Nico Hülkenberg: starting fifth, he crossed the finish line in 15th position, more than a lap behind the winner, confirming how his Haas is not competitive.