Lance Stroll says Williams “can’t assume” it will be able to replicate its improved performance at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix at upcoming Formula 1 races

Williams has endured a tough start to the new campaign and has lagged behind its midfield rivals, but enjoyed a step up in performance in Baku as the team scored its first points of the season.

Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin impressed in qualifying and narrowly missed out on a spot in Q3 as they finished 11th and 12th respectively, before Stroll took advantage of a crazy race to claim eighth position. 

But the Canadian, who became F1’s youngest-ever podium finisher at the 2017 event, has urged Williams to keep its expectations grounded heading to the next race in Spain, with the Grove-based squad still languishing bottom of the constructors’ standings and six points adrift of Sauber. 

“I am happy with P8 and it was a good race for the team but we can't assume this pace will carry on to Barcelona, we have to understand our issues and keep working but that is just what we are doing,” Stroll said. 

Stroll felt he had the pace to finish even higher, but admits he was “surprised” by McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, who pipped Stroll to seventh with an opportunistic pass at Turn 3 in the closing stages. 

“It was a crazy race. So much happened. There were perhaps one or two more positions if we did everything perfectly, but no one had a perfect race today. 

“In that battle with Fernando at the end I think I should have held him there, but he surprised me into turn three. 

“I didn't really see him coming back on the inside and he just managed to sneak through, but that was probably the only little bit we missed today.”

Teammate Sirotkin failed to complete a single lap on Sunday after being forced into retirement with suspension damage following an opening-lap collision with Alonso. The Russian, who has been hit with a three-place grid penalty at the Spanish Grand Prix for causing the incident, insists there was nothing he could do to avoid contact.

"It was such a mess in the first few corners,” he explained. “I was between two cars heading into turn three and I was just slowly and progressively squeezed between the two cars, as I was in the middle. 

“At a point I saw I was not going to avoid a crash so I just lifted, hoping they would squeeze me but not hit me that much, but then already there was nothing I could do. 

“We touched, my car jumped and when I landed, I broke my front suspension and my wing. I am just really sorry for this, as it is such a long race, but I understand that we all want to gain positions at the start.”


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