Williams Martini Racing‘s Lance Stroll finished an astonishing third place in the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix after narrowly losing out to Valtteri Bottas at the finish line.
Stroll became the youngest rookie to reach the podium in Formula 1 history and the first Canadian to stand on the podium since Jacques Villeneuve in 2001 with a faultless performance on the Baku City Circuit.
Stroll kept his nose clean to maintain his eighth position at the start and moved up to seventh following a pit stop behind the safety car on lap 13. Following a further safety car period, Stroll benefited from the chaos caused by the two Sahara Force India‘s colliding with each other to jump up to fourth place before the race was temporarily stopped owing to debris littering the circuit.
With the race restarted, Stroll maintained fourth and was promoted to second by lap 34 following issues that blighted Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. Stroll held second until the dying moments of the Grand Prix when the Mercedes AMG Petronas of Valtteri Bottas slipstreamed passed to demote the rookie to third.
Following the race a delighted Stroll said: “I’m just lost for words right now. It was such a hectic race and so much happened, but the team kept me cool on the radio, the pace was good, we took it to the end and stayed out of trouble.
” I can’t quite believe what’s just happened. We just lost out to Valtteri at the end there in one of the closest finishes of all time going side-by-side across the finish line.
“Coming into this weekend I never thought I would be standing on the podium. It’s an amazing feeling and, for me, a dream come true. However, what happened today was a team effort and I can’t thank everyone enough for making this happen.
“I am just so sorry that I could not celebrate with Felipe, as that would have been the icing on the cake. I am sure without his problems he would have been up there with me.”