Stroll: China qualifying breakthrough “huge” for confidence
Williams Formula 1 rookie Lance Stroll believes his Q3 appearance in China was “huge” for his confidence after a difficult debut in Australia.
Stroll qualified on the back row for the Melbourne season opener after crashing in third practice, and retired from the race with a brake problem.
He then made it to the final segment of qualifying in China – and while an opening-lap crash with Sergio Perez means the Canadian is still chasing his first finish in F1, Stroll believes his Q3 appearance is a big boost.
“I think that was huge for me,” Stroll said on Thursday in Bahrain. “It was really just a breakthrough, even with the issues everyone had on Friday, with no running.
“Never been to China before, only getting a few laps before qualy in FP3 - and then getting right into it and getting to Q3, qualifying 10th, I think that was huge for me.
“Having a good session was obviously very important for many things - confidence, and [it is] just good to pull it all together.”
Stroll reiterated his belief that a switch to lighter power steering between Australia and China had a big impact on his form, saying: “It's just one of those things - Formula 1 is still new to me, it's all part of understanding what you want, what you like, and sometimes it takes a race for that.
“And it's good that in Australia, at least we got that out of the way, the heavy wheel is not for me in Formula 1.”
He added: “I feel every time I get in the car, I'm more and more comfortable, more and more confident. If I were to restart Australia now, it would be another story - or if I were to restart China now.”
Not frustrated with Perez
Neither Perez nor Stroll were penalised for their opening-lap contact in China – and while the Canadian's race ended in the gravel as a result, he reckons the stewards correctly identified the clash as a “racing incident”.
He said: “I didn't finish the race, and that's what I'm disappointed about, not about what exactly caused that.
“I looked at the video, it was just one of those things that happen, a racing incident. There's no reason to really go into depth about it.
“I'm not frustrated about, you know, Sergio or this or that, I'm just frustrated that, obviously, I didn't finish the race. I'm totally over it now, I'm just moving on to Bahrain.”
Additional reporting by Ben Anderson
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