Stroll hails 'special' first points finish
Lance Stroll says he never doubted his own ability after scoring his first top 10 finish in Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix - becoming the second youngest points scorer in F1 history in the process.
Stroll has endured a difficult start to his rookie season with Williams, but showed improved form on home soil to come home ninth - a result that puts him in exalted company. He is only the third Canadian after Gilles and Jacques Villeneuve to score points, and is now second only to Max Verstappen as F1's youngest scorer.
“It is special,” said Stroll. “It feels so good in so many ways, you know words can't really describe it. All I can say is it's been a tricky beginning of the season. We've known we're capable of doing it, there's just been so much stuff in the way to get points, you know, contact, technical issues.
“Today we just had a clean day, and that's what I was saying at the beginning of the weekend: it's all about having a clean weekend, a clean Sunday and it will come to us and that's what happened.”
Having started 17th, Stroll battled his way up the order before holding off Fernando Alonso for several laps towards the end of the race before the Spaniard’s retirement.
“It's special to be able to overtake and fight, and it's not every race you get that - sometimes it's just boring and you finish where you start,” Stroll said. “But today wasn't like that, it was fun even though it was stressful with Alonso never giving up behind me. Every time I did a better lap he did an even better lap, and it just never ended.
“There was always something happening every lap and that's what was so much fun about today: it was really a proper race.”
Asked if he had ever questioned himself following several mishaps in early races, Stroll said: “I've never doubted. I know that we still need improvement - we’re not perfect by any means - but I know our pace is really strong when we get everything right. We saw that in qualifying in China and Russia and Bahrain, and even in races where we've been fighting for P11, P10 and there's just been stuff that's got in the way of us scoring points.
“Today none of that stuff happened it was just a clean day. There was some overtaking we had to fight our way through but it was clean, it was solid and I knew some laps I could overtake the guy in front a lap early but I waited I did it in a better moment later on. It was just awesome.
“It's not going to get any easier - there will still be hard weekends, hard days - but we just need to stay positive, remember days like today and see that it's always possible, it's always out there.”