Lance Stroll left Zandvoort with a reduced lead in the championship despite taking sixth victory of the season in the opening race, with the Canadian having two pointless races after having his qualifying times deleted from the second qualifying session.
His Prema Powerteam was found to have a suspension that contravened the regulations, meaning that despite setting the pace in qualifying, he was starting the final two races of the weekend from the back row of the grid.
Despite knowing he would have this penalty ahead of the opening race on Saturday, Stroll jumped into the lead at the start from third on the grid, sweeping around the outside of team-mates Maximilian Günther and Nick Cassidy, and steadily pulled away for a dominant race victory.
“Scoring my sixth win of the season was good but the weekend could have been very good had I started the other two races from ‘pole’ which I’d achieved in qualifying,” reflected Stroll.
“It was a frustrating and disappointing situation but these things happen, it’s motorsport, human errors occur – thankfully only occasionally. The important thing is to keep our heads up and keep pushing and stay strong ready for Spa.
“Switching back to the standard suspension component I’d raced with all year for Race 1, it was immediately evident that my pace was even faster than when I had the new part fitted.
“In terms of this weekend’s races, I saw a gap at the start of Race 1 and went for it. I braked really late and managed to take the lead and from that point on it was a smooth race to the checker – despite a seagull almost flying into me!”
For races two and three, Stroll was forced to start from the back of the field, and was unable to progress far at either start, and used the final race as more of a test session after retiring from the second race with damage.
The Williams Martini Racing development driver saw his 99-point lead after race one drop to 56 points as the championship now moves onto Spa-Francorchamps at the end of the month.
“Apart from at the start of a race, overtaking at Zandvoort is almost impossible so it was always going to be very tough to make up places from the back,” said Stroll.
“That’s how it turned out and it proved to be really, really frustrating although I did set the fastest lap in Race 3. I’m already counting down the days to Spa where Prema and I will be back to the fore.”