Stroll: “It’s really hard to understand what happened today”

Lance Stroll has said that it is “really hard to understand what happened today” after finishing ninth in the Formula 1 Turkish Grand Prix, despite having led the majority of the race.

Stroll secured his maiden F1 pole position on Saturday and made a great start to his race, switching his intermediate tyres on better than anyone else, and in the first half of the race he had a lead over his teammate of more than 10s.

But, as the track dried out, the Canadian struggled with pace and the drivers behind managed to close the gap, with Sergio Perez closing to within one second of Stroll by lap 34.

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In a bid to try and regain control of the race, Stroll pitted for fresh tyres on lap 36, but he severely struggled for pace when he returned to the circuit.

As a result, rather than closing in on the cars ahead of him Stroll fell further backwards through the field and ended up crossing the line down in ninth while Perez, who didn’t stop, finished second behind victor Lewis Hamilton.

Reflecting on a day what could have been, Stroll said that the team needs to look and see what happened in the final stint and on reflection, he should have stayed out.

“It’s really hard to understand what happened today and we need to go away and figure it out.” commented Stroll after the race.

“I made a good start from pole position and I was able to build up a lead of over 10 seconds in the first stint, which gave us a real platform for the second stint to get a great result.

“Throughout the race, I was struggling with graining on the intermediate tyre. The team made the right call to pit when we did because the graining was extremely difficult and it didn’t look like slick conditions would ever arrive.

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“But we then had significant graining on my second set of intermediates, and I couldn’t push to make up places.

“In hindsight, maybe staying out would have allowed the tyre to clean up, but it’s easy to say that now.”

Despite ending up on the fringes of the points, Stroll was proud of his pole position on Saturday and was happy that Perez was still able to secure big points for the team, who are in a tight battle for third in the constructors’ championship.

“Getting pole yesterday was a great achievement, but the points are scored on Sunday.

“It was fun to lead so many laps, but we didn’t lead enough!

“While I’m frustrated today, Checo’s scored valuable points and we’ll switch focus to the final few races.”