The Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team so nearly had both cars make final qualifying at the Russian Grand Prix, with Lance Stroll making it and qualifying eighth and Sebastian Vettel narrowly missing out in eleventh at the Sochi Autodrom.
Stroll who struggled on Friday in both Free Practice Sessions, made the most of the challenging conditions in qualifying. The Canadian did well to make it to Qualifying Three and qualify in a solid eighth place for the race on Sunday. Stroll could’ve possibly put his car further up the grid, had he not been caught behind Sergio Pérez on his fastest lap, the Canadian also had an altercation with Daniel Ricciardo in Qualifying One.
Overall a strong qualifying for Stroll who is looking forward to seeing what unfolds on Sunday.
“I am happy that we made it into Q3 and P8 is a good starting position to fight for points tomorrow. We made a decent step forward compared to yesterday and the team did a good job in challenging conditions. I do think there was more on the table on the last lap, though.
“What affected the lap most was traffic in the last sector [caused by Sergio Perez] and my lap time was hurt under braking into Turns 13, 14 and 15. I also had issues with Daniel [Ricciardo] getting in my way in Q1. It was a bit frustrating, but we will look ahead to tomorrow now. It is a long run to the first braking point here and there is a lot of slipstreaming, so let us see what happens on Sunday.”
“We had the pace to easily progress to Q3” – Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel was bitterly disappointed to have missed the cut for Qualifying Three. The German has been on it all weekend so far and easily had the pace to make it into the final session. Unfortunately for Vettel he had traffic on his final lap, meaning he just missed out on a spot in the top ten.
Vettel knows he should’ve made the final qualifying and that overtaking isn’t easy around the Sochi Autodrom, it could be a long afternoon for the four-time world champion.
“We definitely had the potential to have a much better result today. I think we had the pace to easily progress to Q3, but I had traffic on my final run [from Yuki Tsunoda] and I just missed out. I am annoyed with myself because I should have put in a better time the lap before as well. It means we are starting on the edge of the top 10 and unfortunately overtaking is not so easy here.”