Lance Stroll was left with mixed emotions after the latest FIA European Formula 3 Championship races in Hungary this past weekend.
The 17-year-old Canadian posted fourth, eighth and third place race finishes at the Hungaroring to move within four points of the championship lead after the opening six races.
The Montréal-born driver was distraught and mystified for much of the event after what is believed to have been a tyre issue that seriously affected his “dry” running pace.
The 4.381km track’s recently relaid surface caused heavy graining to the point that small holes appeared in the rubber which severely handicapped his qualifying pace resulting in fourth, ninth and eighth grid slots.
Stroll found himself shuffled down to fifth as his tyres “went off” and lost grip in Race 1, but fought back to take fourth at the chequered flag.
In Race 2, Stroll was forced wide to avoid a spinning car at the first corner but completed lap one in eighth, a position he held to the chequered flag, having to “nurse” his tyres practically from the start to finish.
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In Race 3, Stroll started from 8th place and finished third, driving impressively in the tricky conditions as rain began to fall again.
“The weekend was a mystery to me at times and hugely disappointing apart from the third race – thank God for the rain!” Stroll said. “With the [slick] tyre issues jeopardizing my car’s performance, the key was to score as many points as possible on Saturday and I believe I did the maximum I could. I went from being ultra-fast in the official test, with a superbly balanced racecar, to driving a complete ‘monster’ due, I believe, to my [slick] tyre allocation. I had understeer, oversteer, it was a complete nightmare. Nick [Cassidy] and I found our pace just disappeared on the new tyres while Max [Günther] and Ralf [Aron] in the other Prema cars remained fast and unaffected – clearly something strange happened between both sets of tyres.
“The Prema guys tried everything with the set-up and configuration of my car. But thanks to the rain, I was able to show some speed in Sunday’s race. Conditions were difficult and extremely slippery but we lucked in with the podium because of the rain. The aim was to stay on track, not make any mistakes and score points. In short, not the best weekend overall after the strange qualifying but we recovered the situation to be close to the lead in the standings going to the next races at Pau.”
From press release
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