Lance Stroll: “The midfield will most probably be closer than last year”

Lance Stroll only drove in the afternoon session on Thursday but completed 67 Laps
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Lance Stroll says he feels good after another productive day for Williams Martini Racing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Thursday, with the Canadian completing sixty-seven laps in the afternoon after taking over the FW41 from test driver Robert Kubica.

Stroll said it was positive that the team continued to build up the miles on the new car, and although he brought up the rear of the field on Thursday – his best lap was more than three seconds off the pace of Sebastian Vettel – he says there is nothing they can take from the times of their rivals due to the uncertain nature of fuel levels that everyone keeps secret during testing.

“I feel good, we have got kilometres on the car so I am looking forward to heading to Australia,” said Stroll. “You have just got to keep chipping away at it and that is the key for now, as there is still a lot to work on, but everyone is in the same boat. 

“We really don’t know where we stand right now and will have to see in Melbourne. There is not much you can see from the timesheets, as everyone is running different fuel levels and doing lots of different things.”

Stroll feels the midfield battle may even be closer in 2018 than it was in 2017, and Williams still needs to do some more work to better understand the FW41 to ensure that they are at the front of those other midfield runners.

“The midfield will most probably be closer than last year because of the developments by everyone,” said Stroll. “This week we did more running and it was better weather, so we had much better conditions.

“The car still needs some work on it to understand the balance, tyres and all that, but we shall see.”

In a change of schedule, Stroll will return to the car on Friday afternoon, with Sergey Sirotkin now testing in the morning rather than Kubica.