The team brought a number of upgrades to the weekend, and this was the focus of the run plan in Free Practice One. Lance put in a best time of 1:19.766, which was the 10th-fastest time but without underlying the true speed of the AMR23.
FP2 was heavily interrupted by rain, meaning that FP3 was the opportune time to refine the car setup ahead of qualifying and the race. Lance finished that session ninth-fastest, with a time of 1:18.198.
In Q1, Lance put in a best time of 1:17.873 to finish fourth fastest. Throughout qualifying, the track temperatures were cold and teams struggled to generate heat into their tyres. This had the effect that tyres took an extra preparation lap to get to temperature, while being durable enough to do several fast laps on a single set.
Lance made it safely through Q2 and then put in the sixth-fastest time in a very tight Q3 segment with a time of 1:17.308 for the Grand Prix.
At the start, Lance initially had a good launch but contact with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc at Turn Three hampered his momentum on the opening lap and he dropped behind Williams’ Alexander Albon.
He was chasing Albon for the following laps when the Williams driver crashed, bringing out a Safety Car and a subsequent red flag. Lance had passed Mercedes’ George Russell and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who had pitted behind the SC and was able to get a free pitstop and jump both.
Restarting from fourth in a standing start on new Hard tyres after beginning the race on the Medium tyre, Lance lost out to Russell and Alpine’s Pierre Gasly but kept himself in the mix.
He also lost out to Sainz, but gained a position back when Russell retired and sat in sixth place for much of the race, keeping within range of Sainz and Gasly in front.
A second red flag was called with just a few laps to go for a crash involving Haas’s Kevin Magnussen, leaving the race down to a two-lap shootout.
With Soft tyres for the dash to the chequered flag, Lance had a great start once again, avoided contact between team-mate Fernando Alonso and Sainz, and looked set to capitalise to take third place before locking up on cold tyres and running into the gravel.
However, several cars had made contact behind, bringing out a third red flag. Due to the timing of when the flag was called, the result was taken back to the order for the second restart but without the eliminated cars.
As Lance crucially had kept his car going, he was able to restart in fifth for one lap behind the Safety Car to the chequered flag. This became fourth when Sainz was hit with a five-second penalty for the collision with Alonso.
Lance Stroll, Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team™ Driver:
“I think we should be pleased with the result we’ve come away with today: third and fourth is great for the team. It was a heavily disrupted race with red flags and a few big accidents, and neither Fernando nor I managed to stay clear of the drama.
“I had a little bit of contact on the first lap, but we were running well until the first red flag was thrown. As we’ve seen across the weekend, it takes a while for the tyres to get up to temperature here and so on the second restart I locked up at turn three and ended up in the gravel. Thankfully, the red flag had been waved before that point and I was able to retake my position for the final restart.
“This sport is a rollercoaster of emotions sometimes! Overall, we’ve come away from a chaotic race with a solid haul of points for the team and to be second in the Constructors’ Championship after three races is very positive.”
Lance will return to action on Sunday, April 30, for the 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix at Baku.
Spanish Grand Prix
June 5, 2023
Lance Stroll took sixth place around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with a measured drive around the flowing Spanish track.