Lance Stroll said his result in the Mexican Grand Prix was ‘a great birthday present’ as he celebrated turning nineteen years of age with a sixth place finish at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on Sunday.
The Williams Martini Racing driver started twelfth and capitalised on the early misfortune of others to run inside the top ten, and then took his one and only pit stop under the virtual safety car, which enabled him to run inside the top five.
Sebastian Vettel fought back to finish ahead of the Canadian, with Stroll having a great final stint to finish almost on the tail of Esteban Ocon in fifth, and he rued not having the opportunity to pass the Frenchman.
“I think it was a very controlled race,” said Stroll. “I had a really good start, but then lost some positions as I was on the outside.
“There were some technical issues and crashes and so I gained some places due to that. We had a good idea all along, assuming I was going to stay in one piece and everything was going to continue along smoothly, we could have a good race.
“I had a great first stint, a great second stint and in the end I wasn’t quite close enough to get into the DRS zone to pass Ocon. I was really managing the tyres and the car was balanced very well, so a big thanks to the team. It was a great day, a great result and a great birthday present.”
Stroll heaped praise on Lewis Hamilton after the Briton clinched the 2017 World Drivers’ Championship in Mexico City, with the Canadian feeling the now-four time champion is the undoubted current king of Formula 1.
“Big congratulations to Lewis, he is the king of Formula 1, there is no doubt about it,” said Stroll. “It is incredible what he has accomplished.
“He is a big inspiration for young drivers like me.”