Lance Stroll was pleased after securing a third-place grid spot for the São Paulo Grand Prix despite a ‘pretty bad lap’ in a Q3 session which would be red-flagged and not restarted due to inclement weather.

Stroll managed to claim only-his fourth career top-three start despite the conditions as he put an end to a seven-race streak of Q3 absences that commenced in Zandvoort.

Aston Martin locked out the second row of the grid, with both drivers qualifying 0.6s slower than polesitter Max Verstappen who was able to find the best of the track conditions after being the first to leave the garage.

There was only time for just the one run in the final stage of qualifying as a storm system closed in on the circuit, severely hampering visibility before a torrential downpour also hit the track. The session was red flagged with just over four minutes remaining and would not be restarted with conditions only worsening.

“I’m very satisfied,” the Canadian said of his rather emphatic return to Q3. “The car was feeling good throughout the whole session, which was good. Q3 in the end was really weird.

“I think the conditions changed a lot, the wind changed, so my lap was super messy.

“[Some] Lock ups, missing corners, but in the end, good enough for a top three. It was a good session overall.

“Throughout the whole session, we were competitive and I was feeling good in the car. It was definitely a much better day for us than we’ve had in a while.”

Lance Stroll (CDN) Aston Martin F1 Team AMR23.
03.11.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Qualifying Day.
–, EMail: © Copyright: Staley / XPB Images

Aston Martin had introduced major upgrades in Austin, but had been yet to fully get to grips with the developments after being sent down the wrong path by simulation data.

After a couple of tricky weekends in the United States and Mexico, the team’s performance on Friday at Interlagos heralded a welcome return to form for the British marque, even if aided by the extreme weather.

Asked whether the upgrades were finally working, Stroll responded: “Yes, it’s been tricky in the last couple of weekends. We had a very good race in Austin, but a few days later in Mexico, we had a really tough weekend, so today is a great day.

“We definitely have a much better car here than we’ve felt for a while. The balance was good [and I] felt good grip in the car. That’s when you can just keep improving and tidy things up and keep it clean.”

Starting alongside team-mate Fernando Alonso, Stroll has set his sights on the podium for Sunday despite not expecting to have a car necessarily quick enough to deliver a top-three finish.

“We are aiming for a podium. I think it’s going to be tricky. I don’t think we have the third quickest car,” he told Sky F1.

“The McLarens are going to be quick on Sunday. We were fortunate with the rain that came in so we got our lap in early, I don’t think a lot of people got their laps in.

“Perez is going to be coming through the field, the McLarens [too] but we will see what we can do.”

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