Lance Stroll says Williams were “trying to get the car to the end of the race instead of racing” at the 2018 Formula 1 season opener in Australia after finishing a disappointing 14th place.

After being stuck in the incorrect engine mode for the opening lap of the Australian Grand Prix, which dropped the Canadian driver behind Force India’s Esteban Ocon, Stroll spent the race managing his fuel consumption and tyre issues with his Williams FW41.

With rookie teammate Sergey Sirotkin forced out of the race on lap five when a sandwich bag got caught in his right rear brake duct, Stroll was unable to provide Williams with any joy after suffering with further engine power problems during the safety car period which saw him lose out to Alfa Romeo Sauber’s Charles Leclerc at the restart and drop to a frustrating 14th place.

“We are just basically trying to get the car to the end of the race instead of racing,” Stroll said. “There was a lot going on with big issues that cost us a lot of race time.

“We were in the wrong mode on the first lap and that is the reason Ocon got me. We also have none of the extra power we need for the safety car restart which is where I lost the place to Leclerc.

“I hope we can find the solution before Bahrain.”

Stroll's 14th place equals the worst start to an F1 world championship since 2013 for Williams.

 

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