Lance Stroll admitted that the car “felt like crap” on his way to securing third on the grid for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix, marking his best qualifying performance of 2023.
Following six consecutive Q1 eliminations, Stroll’s mega performance came at the perfect time, especially as he continues to gain pressure from the media.
The Canadian will start on the second row of the grid alongside Fernando Alonso, highlighting just how quickly things can change considering that both drivers exited qualifying in Q1 in Mexico City.
Aston Martin were ultimately the real winners in qualifying, as they got both drivers out onto the circuit at exactly the right time.
The rain was at its lightest when Stroll and Alonso completed their only hot laps in Q3, before a huge storm drenched the circuit, resulting in the final four minutes of the session being cancelled.
It also kept both drivers out of trouble, something Sergio Perez found himself in after being impacted by a yellow flag caused by Oscar Piastri going off at the penultimate corner.
Stroll praised how “smart” the Silverstone-based outfit were in getting both drivers at the front of the queue and insisted that they “made our own luck” with a positive strategy.
However, he also admitted that the car still didn’t feel amazing.
“I guess time will tell if we can build on today and keep up this form in other places,” Stroll told the media, as reported by Total-Motorsport.com.
“I definitely don’t think we were lucky today, I think we made our own luck going to the front of the [Q3] queue and getting good track position.
“The weather was coming in so I think that was smart but I still really felt like crap in the car. It was really tricky in Q3, the wind changed direction so it was still really tough but I think we did a good job getting both cars, me and Fernando at the front of the queue.”
Stroll added: “The team did a good job of giving us an attempt at the front of the queue before the bad weather came in, and it looks like a lot of guys missed their laps or didn’t get them in for whatever reason so think we made our own luck today.”
Whilst Aston Martin have looked better this weekend in Interlagos compared to recent races, it was never expected that they’d lock-out the second row.
Even Stroll admitted after the session that they’re not “third on paper” but that a “huge step” has been made since recent events in Austin and Mexico City.
“I don’t think we’re third on paper, other conditions and stuff in Q3 were a little funny and we managed to execute well, that’s for sure,” Stroll said.
“But it’s still a huge step from Mexico and Austin. We had a good race in Austin but Friday and Saturday were difficult. So today’s definitely the best quality and pace we’ve had in a long time. But we’ll see we can do in the race, the points are on Sunday.”