Lance Stroll had his opening lap move on Lewis Hamilton all figured out, believing the Mercedes driver would leave him the necessary room, and he did.
Stroll may have started the Spanish Grand Prix from P5, but the opening lap could not have gone much better as he rose into the podium places, that including a move on Mercedes’ seven-time World Champion Hamilton.
And while Hamilton received a knock from Lando Norris in the McLaren at the start, the Stroll pass came about without contact, a move which Stroll said he has pulled before at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Getting the job done down the inside at Turn 5 did require Hamilton to leave the door open though on approach, but Stroll trusted that this is what the veteran was going to do, and that is precisely what happened.
“It was a fun battle with Lewis [Hamilton] on the first lap; I’ve pulled that move off before so I knew there was a gap and figured Lewis would leave me a bit of space, which he did,” said Stroll.
“That put me in a good position going into Turn 5 and I could hold the place.”
That though was basically as good as it got for Stroll, as the Mercedes W14, enjoying its second outing since its major makeover, settled into the status of being the clear second-fastest challenger out there behind Red Bull.
But not only Mercedes, Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari was also proving to be too hot to handle for Aston Martin, as this time it was they who struggled with tyre degradation, while Mercedes and Ferrari appeared to have a much better grasp on that aspect of the race.
Stroll ultimately would finish P6 ahead of his team-mate Fernando Alonso in P7.
“Then, from about five laps in, we really struggled with the pace,” Stroll added. “My tyre degradation was higher than expected but the cars around us didn’t seem to have the same issue, so it’s something we’ll look to understand for the coming races.
“We bring home some good points finishing sixth and seventh, but I think we’d been hoping for slightly more today. I’m looking forward to heading to Canada, my home race.”
With Mercedes claiming a double podium finish as Hamilton crossed the line P2 and George Russell P3, they were able to take P2 away from Aston Martin in the Constructors’ Championship, with the gap now 18 points in Mercedes’ favour.
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