Lance had just one Free Practice session before qualifying to get the AMR23 in the right window, and he finished the session in sixth place.
He continued this form into Friday afternoon’s qualifying session, safely making it through Q1 and Q2 before ending up sixth in Q3 to lock in his grid position for Sunday’s Grand Prix.
With Saturday set aside for Sprint action, Lance continued his competitive qualifying form into the Sprint Shootout, finishing the session in eighth.
Lance had a brilliant start at the beginning of the Sprint race, climbing three places into the top five in wet conditions.
He carried on the set of Intermediate tyres that he started the race on as the track began to dry. In the closing stages, he made his way past Nico Hulkenberg’s Haas for fourth.
In the final laps, he held off Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One® Team team-mate Fernando Alonso to the line and secured fourth place and five useful World Championship points.
Lance started Sunday’s 71-lap Grand Prix on Medium tyres from sixth. He had a great launch, but was squeezed out at Turn One, which meant he lost a few places.
After a brief Safety Car, he restarted the race and battled with Esteban Ocon’s Alpine. He gained a position on lap 14 when Hulkenberg retired, which brought out the Virtual Safety Car.
Lance pitted for Hard tyres a lap after several drivers, and the timing of the VSC being withdrawn meant he lost a lot of time and positions to his rivals.
This left him 15th, and from there Lance made moves on the track to work his way up the order, gaining positions on Valtteri Bottas and Yuki Tsunoda in quick succession.
Lance pitted for a second time on lap 36 as the race entered its second half and put on another set of Hard tyres, returning in 15th.
As others ahead pitted and served penalties, mostly for track limits, Lance worked his way up into ninth before he pitted for a third time to switch back to the Medium tyres.
In the closing stages, he was running in 11th and chasing down Alexander Albon for 10th. He made a great move around the outside of Turn Four to take the place and finish in the points.
Post-race, a further 12 penalties were handed for track limits, meaning that Lance had finished the race in ninth in the final classification.
Lance Stroll, Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One® Team driver:
It was a tough day today, but we still come away from the weekend with some decent points for the team. We slightly mistimed our stop under the VSC this afternoon and lost several places in the pits, and that decision dictated the strategy for the rest of our race. In hindsight, we probably should have pitted during the first lap of the VSC rather than the second, so that’s something we’ll need to review and learn from. I had a few good battles on track while fighting back through the field; taking Tsunoda at Turn Three was especially fun. Our focus now shifts to Silverstone. It’s one of the best tracks on the calendar, so I’m looking forward to getting back out there in a few days’ time.
Lance will be back in action on 9 July for AMF1 Team’s home race – the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Japanese Grand Prix
September 27, 2023
After making up several positions from his grid slot, Lance was forced to retire with a rear wing issue.