Stroll 'win' made Lowe head for podium
Williams's Paddy Lowe has revealed he mistakenly headed for the podium when the Canadian Grand Prix finished because Lance Stroll's first Formula 1 points felt so much like a win.
Stroll recovered from another difficult qualifying performance to turn 17th on the grid into a ninth-place finish in his first home F1 race in Montreal.
Following Stroll's tough start to 2017 and amid mounting criticism of Williams's decision to bring the reigning Formula 3 European champion straight into F1, the team's chief technical officer Lowe said the importance of the result should not be underestimated.
"You couldn't overstate it on so many different levels," said Lowe, when asked by Autosport about Stroll's performance.
"The way he drove tand the result he got, it feels like a race win.
"Actually, coming off the pitwall, with the instinct of how I felt, I started heading towards the podium!
"It was only ninth, but it seriously felt like a race win because we know it has been a very, very difficult introduction to the sport for him."
Stroll's ongoing struggles earlier in the weekend had prompted some intense talks between Lowe and the Canadian driver's father Lawrence in the Williams offices on Saturday evening.
Lowe said Williams had always kept faith in Stroll's fundamental ability even as he had difficult getting to grips with the 2017 F1 car and tyres.
"We have all felt for him, willing him to get better and to make the progress," added Lowe.
"He went out there [in the race] and showed that he could drive.
"The talent was all there, the racecraft was fantastic.
"Those points didn't fall in his lap, he went and fought for them.
"He handled some pretty tricky situations, like the traffic in Turn 1. There was lots of stuff that could have easily been mishandled.
"The benefits are immeasurable - he is going to have so much more confidence that he now knows what it takes.
"They say in this sport that when you win your first race, all the rest of them are so much easier.
"I am sure it is the same with points.
"I hope we will see that.
"He is out of the starting blocks and we will see that in play now."