RACE DEBRIEF

    Lance Stroll believes Aston Martin can finish third in the championship – if not better – on the manufacturer's return to Formula 1 this season, with the Canadian setting himself a target of finishing inside the top five in the drivers’ standings.

    Team owner Lawrence Stroll rebranded his Racing Point squad Aston Martin ahead of this season, the British outfit unveiling a striking green livery with a hint of pink during an online launch from the company’s automotive HQ in Gaydon, on Wednesday.

    READ MORE: Aston Martin are back – See the first pictures of Vettel and Stroll's 2021 F1 car

    As Racing Point, the Silverstone-based team ended up fourth in the constructors’ championship last year, just missing out to McLaren, with Sergio Perez scoring a victory in Bahrain and Lance Stroll a pole position in Turkey.

    This year, Stroll – who will be partnered by four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel – wants to go one better at the very least.

    “As a team, I think third in the constructors’ championship is a big goal,” said Stroll. “We missed out on that last year, we came so close. I truly believe that we can accomplish that this year, if not more. That’s a big goal of the team.”

    Lance Stroll: Everyone 'buzzing' after launch of Aston Martin AMR21

    He added: “From my side, pushing to finish top five in the championship, that would be a great achievement.

    “I want to improve as a driver. Last year I scored a couple of podiums and got my first pole which was awesome. I really want to build on that.

    READ MORE: What can we expect from Aston Martin’s real F1 return?

    “There were opportunities to win races last year which I missed out, like in Bahrain, Turkey and Monza. That really shows the potential we have going into this season and it’s extremely exciting.”

    Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One® Team_AMR21_01.jpg
    Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll will split driving duties when the AMR21 runs for the first time on Thursday

    Stroll will drive the AMR21 for the first time at Silverstone on Thursday, as the team use the first of their two filming days, and he says he can’t wait to get started.

    “I have come back refreshed from the winter break,” he added. “It is going to be my third season here working with this great bunch of people, and that stability is what you need as a driver. I am at home here and I have built those strong relationships with the team now.

    “All that stuff makes a difference when we are competing for those last fractions of a second. It is a case of knowing exactly what you need and how to work with the team to really optimise performance.”

    Lance Stroll: Everyone 'buzzing' after launch of Aston Martin AMR21