Pole man Stroll says 'ice-rink' conditions made him feel at home

Istanbul (AFP) –


Lance Stroll said it was "in my bones" to shine in severe wet and treacherous conditions after delivering the greatest moment of his career by taking pole at the Turkish Grand Prix on Saturday.

The 22-year-old Canadian, whose billionaire father Laurence Stroll is owner of the Racing Point team, upstaged the top teams’ title contenders and big-name star drivers by outpacing them all in the final seconds of a prolonged and dramatic session.

He said he owed his success to feeling at home in the ‘ice-rink’ like slippery and treacherous conditions as heavy rain interrupted proceedings and rendered the track unsafe for 45 minutes.

"I love it and I have always enjoyed it,” he said. "At home, I grew up driving on ice in our parking lot with lots of drifting and sliding around without much grip. It’s in my bones, I guess!”

Stroll's success made him the first Canadian to take a Formula One pole position since Jacques Villeneuve at the 1997 European Grand Prix and ended a grim period of illness and poor results

“I can't really put it into words,” said an emotional Stroll. “I'm shocked. I didn't expect to be up here after FP3.

“There were a lot of things we weren't sure about coming into qualifying. We didn't look that competitive in Q3. I'm so happy right now -- I put that lap together at the end when I was under a lot of pressure.

“I only had one lap to do at the end because we started on the wet tyre and then boxed for inters.

“I had one lap where I got traffic – and Valtteri (Bottas) who spun in front of me – so I had one lap at the end, but I had confidence in the car. I nailed pretty much every corner and put it together.

“Since Monza, it has been a pretty rough ride for me so it feels good. Feels really good right now!

“I knew Sergio was up there at the front. Listening to my engineer, he was giving me feedback about where we were, but in these conditions you don't really have time to think about what's going on around you.

“It's really just about the next corner in front of you and once we got on the inters, the car was pretty hooked up for the conditions.

“To put it on pole is a special moment for me… It’s the highlight of my career."

Stroll was congratulated warmly by Perez who claimed third, his best qualifying position after having taken fourth nine times.

“It’s a great result for the team and something we didn’t expect. I am very pleased. In the end, I think we were just lucky.

“It was a good call to go to inters in Q3. Obviously, track position was a key today to be able to maintain temperature in the tyres.

“I definitely prefer to be P3 than P2 – at the start, I think it will be a good difference for me.”