Stroll targets podium finish in Brazil after P3 in qualifying as Alonso insists Aston Martin 'know what they're doing'
Lance Stroll has set his sights on a podium finish at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix after the Aston Martin driver qualified in a season-high third place – while Fernando Alonso, who lines up fourth, says the team need that result.
Aston Martin had showed a decent turn of pace throughout the opening day with Stroll going sixth in FP1. He followed that up with strong efforts in qualifying – ending up P6 in Q1 although he scraped through in 10th in Q2.
But on his only lap in Q3, Stroll set a time of 1m 11.344s to go third just as the rain that brought qualifying to an early end started to fall. He wound up over six-tenths behind pole-sitter Max Verstappen, but sealing a first top three start since the Turkish Grand Prix in 2020.
Speaking after jumping out the cockpit, Stroll said: “Yeah, we are aiming for a podium. I think it’s going to be tricky though, I don’t think we have the third quickest car.
“The McLarens are going to be quick on Sunday, we were fortunate with the rain that came in, so we got our lap in early. I don’t think everyone got their laps in. I’m sure [Sergio] Perez is going to be coming through the field, the McLarens, but we will see what we can do.”
Asked if there is any performance Aston Martin could add to the AMR23 over the next couple of days, Stroll replied: “We can’t change much on the car but I was feeling good in the car today. So there’s not much we can change, it felt pretty good throughout qualifying.”
Lining up next to Stroll is his team mate, Alonso, who believes the result is vindication for the experimenting they have been carrying out on their car over the last few race weekends.
“Yeah, we [needed] it,” said Alonso. “I think, the last two Grands Prix, we were a little bit experimenting and we were starting from the pit lane, all these kinds of things, and we needed a nice result here in Brazil for both cars to give out some hope in the team.
“It just proves that we understood a few things and we were quite competitive, so this proves we know what we are doing, and I am happy with that.”
Asked what the team can do for the rest of the weekend, Stroll said: “I hope it is just a clean weekend, a good Sprint tomorrow, and then on Sunday obviously we have a very good position to start the race.
“Maybe no more rain, it was only today, the biggest day, so hopefully tomorrow, sunny day so people can enjoy more.”