BAKU (Reuters) - Canadian teenager Lance Stroll has described Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix as a dream come true after he capitalised on a chaotic race to hold his nerve and finish third for Williams.
Stroll was pipped to second spot on the line by Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas but at 18 years 239 days old he is the youngest driver to make the podium in his first Formula One season.
He is also the second youngest racer ever on the podium after Dutchman Max Verstappen, who was 18 years 228 days old when he won the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix.
Stroll’s previous best performance was ninth in the Canadian Grand Prix earlier his month.
“You dream of being on an F1 podium, you work towards that and it finally comes true,” he told Sky Sports. “It was such a hectic race and I kept my head cool, the team kept me cool over the radio and we took it to the end.
“It was a bit disappointing at the end to lose P2 but all in all an amazing race. I started to feel the rear going away so I knew it was going to be tricky to keep the pace.”
Stroll’s victory makes him the first Canadian to finish on the podium since Jacques Villeneuve came third — the last of his 23 podium finishes — in the German Grand Prix in 2001.
“It’s tricky with the tyres to get good lap times and save them, there was a bit of everything going on,” Stroll added. “Valtteri was a bit quicker than me, but I’m over the moon with P3.”
Stroll, the son of a billionaire, was criticised for not earning a point in the first six races of the season, failing to finish four, but his performance in Baku takes him to 12th in the standings on 17 points, three behind team mate Felipe Massa.
Reporting by Ed Dove; Editing by Ken Ferris