Formula 1

Lance Stroll: “It has been a positive start so far with competitive pace”

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Credit: Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team

Lance Stroll said he had a lot of fun on track during Friday practice for the United States Grand Prix, with the Canadian ending an encouraging sixth fastest in the afternoon session.

The Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team driver finished outside the top ten in the morning session but found a lot more pace in the afternoon, even topping the time sheets at one point before he slipped to sixth as the big guns took to the track on the soft tyres.

Stroll says it will be important to manage tyres during Sunday’s race, especially if conditions are as warm as they were on Friday, and although he expects others to improve on Saturday, he feels Aston Martin have started the weekend on the right foot.

“It was great fun out there today,” said Stroll.  “There were big crowds in the stands and I enjoy this track. It has been a positive start so far with competitive pace and we have learned a lot too.

“Managing the tyres will be crucial on Sunday because it is very easy to overheat them in these hot conditions, and we saw that today, plus it is a demanding track generally with some quick sections.

“We finished the day in P6 and, while I expect others to improve tomorrow, we have some good momentum that we will carry into the weekend.”

“Austin is a track where you can overtake” – Sebastian Vettel

Team-mate Sebastian Vettel was focused on the long runs during both free practice sessions, with the German knowing he will be starting at the back of the pack regardless of where he qualifies on Saturday.

Vettel has had a completely new power unit fitted to his AMR21 this weekend at the Circuit of the Americas and is one of three drivers to be handed grid penalties for engine changes alongside Williams Racing’s George Russell and Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s Valtteri Bottas.

As a result, Vettel was concentrating on getting a good set-up for Sunday’s race so he can be in a position to attack and make gains from what is expected to be a back row start.

“Today we ran a different practice programme to the majority of the field because we will be taking a grid penalty [due to changing elements of the power unit], so that means our focus is on the race, rather than qualifying,” said Vettel.

“We maximised the sessions to work on longer runs and gather lots of data to review. Hopefully, that will help us on Sunday and we will be in good shape for the race.

“Although we will start further back, Austin is a track where you can overtake and the hotter conditions will be a tough test for all of us, which will hopefully create opportunities to move forward in the race.”

Sebastian Vettel will start at the back of the grid after taking a penalty for an engine change – Credit: Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team
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