Lance Stroll called Sunday’s Qatar Grand Prix “a big day” for Aston Martin, after the Canadian led the team by two points, taking 6th place while Sebastian Vettel finished 10th.
Stroll and Vettel were among 11 drivers who chose to make a one-stop-shop strategy work in the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix, with Stroll leading home just the team’s third brace in a 2021 season that failed largely failed to measure up to Aston. Martin’s expectations during their first year back as a factory team.
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“It was a great result and a great race,” said Stroll. “The car was really good today. We got off to a good start, we got through [Yuki] Tsunoda in the first stint, then we started to catch up with the group in front, [Esteban] Ocon, [Carlos] Sainz – and we undermined Sainz for P6. So we had a really good pace and I was able to attack every lap and the car felt good.
Asked how the result might change the mood for the team – which currently sit 7th in the constructors’ standings, 35 points behind AlphaTauri – Stroll replied: “It’s a great day for the team. , but I don’t think it really changes our position in the constructors’ championship or anything, I think we’re still quite a distance from the teams ahead of us. But it was just a positive day and the car was running well so I was happy with it.
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After qualifying it looked like Aston Martin would be led in the race by Vettel, the German in Q3 while Stroll retired in Q2. But starting 10th on the grid, a disastrous escapade placed Vettel 17th at the end of round 1 – the quadruple champion then doing a decent job to return to 10th place at the flag, for only the third time, after Monaco and France. , which both Aston Martins scored in the same race.
“We were basically at the back of the train after turn 1 so a reasonable recovery, but not ideal as we lost too much ground,” said Vettel.
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“Today, yes, the car was fast and I was feeling pretty good, so I think there are positives,” added Vettel. “But like I said, at turn 1 I was a bit stuck, I had nowhere to go, I tried to go around the outside, but maybe it was a little more sandy than I expected.
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“Then the pace was good to come back, but I think we should have scored more today.”