Lance Stroll put down his elimination from Q1 for the fifth time in six races to a ‘funny session’, in which inclement weather and a red flag caused drama in the closing minutes.
Stroll was one of the main drivers to be caught out by the rapidly changing track conditions as the rain abated in the latter parts of the opening qualifying session, with many drivers gambling on the supersoft tyres on a still partially wet circuit. With the Canadian rookie electing to play it safe given his inexperience in the conditions, he was unable to make the cut for Q2.
“That was my first time in a Formula One car in the wet,” he explained. “It was a really funny session with rain, drying conditions and intermediates. It was drying at the end and we had some graining on the tyres, so we couldn’t really go quicker. We got bumped by guys who put on slicks in the end and went quicker.
Despite escaping Q1 only once since the Spanish Grand Prix, he insisted the result was not one that could be considered a benchmark of his true pace, and was hoping the rain would stay away on Sunday to demonstrate as much.
“I don’t really count that as a normal qualifying where our pace is where we should be. It’s just disappointing. We only just missed out on Q2. We will see tomorrow what it will be like as the car is good in the dry.”
Fernando Alonso had gone quickest by 1.3 seconds in the same session in which Stroll was eliminated, but thanks to engine penalties will gift the Williams driver an extra position in the grid, allowing him to start in 15th position instead of the 16th place in which he qualified.