2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Baku: Lance Stroll become the youngest F1 rookie to reach podium in Baku for Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The 18-year-old Canadian, son of billionaire investor Lawrence Stroll, silenced his critics with his top-three finish in only his eighth outing and simply ignored opponents.
The reigning European F3 champion is gaining momentum, and putting the doubts about his ability to perform at the highest level to rest.
The Canadian was just 12 days older than Dutchman Max Verstappen was when he won the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix on debut with Red Bull.
“I am a bit lost for words,” said Stroll. “It was such an intense race, a crazy race, and so much happened — the red flag and hopping out of the car and hopping back in and having to reset. It happened so quickly.
“Today where we did well was to stay out of trouble, let some other drivers make mistakes and get to the end. I can’t describe how I feel. It’s a dream come true -? every racing driver wants to stand on the podium at a Formula One race.”
The Williams rookie was only beaten to second place by Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas on the final straight.
“I don’t think it proves a point,? said Stroll who came in for a stream of criticism for his results earlier in the season.
“I don’t listen to that stuff, it is just noise. I had it last year when I had the perfect year and this year when I had some tough times.
“I am just happy with myself. It is all just noise in the background, I don’t care. Sometimes jumping F3 to F1 is quite big and it took time to try to understand,” said Stroll.
“We took a different direction with the set-up, shifting away after Bahrain and from Barcelona taking a different direction with the car.
“We came back to it this weekend and that set-up gives me more confidence, I am able to push the car. It gives me confidence and comfort. I will keep working on things moving forward. “I can improve a lot, it just takes a bit of time. This year is a very different formula for me and I need to experience it, come bac and figure this and that out. ”