Formula 1

Aston Martin “could have been fighting for seventh” at Zandvoort – Lance Stroll

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Credit: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team

Lance Stroll believes he could have finished as high as seventh in Sunday’s Dutch Grand Prix if circumstances out of his control had gone more his way.

The Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team driver felt he had the pace to challenge both the BWT Alpine F1 Team and McLaren F1 Team drivers at the Circuit Zandvoort, but the late race safety car, caused by Valtteri Bottas stopping on track, wrecked his chances of a better result.

Stroll ended the day in tenth – the fifth time in 2022 he has achieved this position – but it he felt he was more competitive in the Netherlands than his finishing position seems.

“Overall, it has been a positive weekend in terms of performance, but we were a little bit unlucky today with how things played out and how that affected our strategy,” said Stroll.  

“The timing of the Safety Car gave the Alpines and [Lando] Norris the advantage: without that we could have been fighting for seventh. Our pace was strong all weekend, I felt really confident in the car, and we were more competitive.

“That is really encouraging for the coming races. It has been a great push by the team back at the factory to make our car quicker, so hopefully this is the start of a strong run through to the end of the season.”

“A tough day where making progress was always going to be difficult” – Sebastian Vettel

Team-mate Sebastian Vettel did not have the same kind of pace as Stroll, with the German ending down in fourteenth at the chequered flag.

Vettel attempted an early pit stop in a bid to jump some of his rivals only to suffer a slow pit stop, and he was left fighting those well outside the points for the rest of the afternoon.

The German, who will retire from the FIA Formula 1 World Championship at the end of the 2022 season, also picked up a five-second time penalty for ignoring blue flags, but he admitted it did not have much effect on his race of finishing position.

“We did not have great race pace – but probably could have earned a better result if we had not started so far back,” said Vettel.  “We stopped early to try and undercut the cars ahead.

“That strategy would have worked, but that first pitstop was really slow – I lost a lot of time to Zhou [Guanyu], Pierre [Gasly], Alex [Albon], Mick [Schumacher] and I was very close to Daniel [Ricciardo].

“I enjoyed my battle with Mick – but this race was not a highlight for either of us. Then I got a five-second penalty for ignoring blue flags when I was being passed by Lewis [Hamilton], but it did not really make much difference to my race.

“A tough day where making progress was always going to be difficult – but it is what it is.”

Sebastian Vettel’s final Dutch Grand Prix ended with him finishing fourteenth – Credit: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team
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