Lance Stroll, by his own admission, has had a tough run since finishing in the top ten in Azerbaijan, so it’s no surprise the Williams driver was bursting with pride after securing his second points finish of the season at the Italian Grand Prix…
Stroll has fond memories of Monza’s Temple of Speed, with the Canadian starting second on the grid at the famous Italian circuit last year before battling his way to a memorable P7.
His hopes of a repeat performance were boosted on Saturday when he reached Q3 for the first time in 2018, starting Sunday’s race in tenth and with every chance of scoring more points for his struggling team.
That he did, with the teenager coming home in P10, which later became P9 following Romain Grosjean's disqualification from the race. And given the tough season he has endured so far, Stroll was in a buoyant mood following his point-scoring exploits.
“It’s very satisfying,” said Stroll. “I almost forgot what it felt like to score a point. It’s been a tough run. It’s going to sink in later and we will definitely celebrate in style tonight.
“I’ve had my eyes on this one for a while. I knew we were going to have a tough run with the car’s performance but I was eying Monza and I said to myself if we can nail it in Monza, there’s potentially a good result up for grabs.
“And we did it this weekend. We nailed it yesterday in qualifying. We had a good slipstream, I put my lap together. And today in the race, it was steady with no mistakes. We come away with a P10 (which became P9 after the chequered flag) which is fantastic.
“This weekend we went above and beyond where we were actually supposed to finish because of the job the guys did this weekend. We were on it from first practice. We just pieced the puzzle together. That’s what this sport comes down to. You have to take the opportunities when they come.”
All in all, it was a memorable weekend for Stroll, after he delivered the goods for Williams in qualifying too – and he was quick to hail his team for providing him with a competitive car.
“I think it’s one of those weekends where we just did a really good job operationally. On a track like this, every driver is looking for the slipstream, there’s so much more to it than just going out, doing a lap and getting the pace out of the car.
“There’s a lot to do with slipstream and downforce levels and stuff. Here this weekend we just did a great job operationally. Yesterday in qualifying, as I said, I put my lap together.
“Today in the race, a trouble-free race and I had a good start again where I made a few places – I was up to eighth I believe. No lock ups, stead pace and managed my tyres."
And what about his future at Williams? Stroll has been strongly linked with a move to Force India, which is headed by a consortium led by his father Lawrence, but for now, he says he remains focused on delivering results for Williams.
“We will see what the future holds," he said. "I’m just taking it weekend by weekend. When I put my helmet on, I’m a racing driver and whatever car I’m in, I’m just trying to get the most out of it. It’s been a challenging year.
“For us a team we are definitely not where we want to be. We have to enjoy a day like today. They haven’t come often this year. We definitely have to digest this good result and go to Singapore with a positive attitude.”
The two points Stroll earned in Monza moves him up to 17th in the drivers' standings, level on six points with Sauber's Marcus Ericsson.