Following a mistake-strewn pre-season, the 18-year-old Canadian didn't do anything foolish on his race debut in Melbourne although he did suffer a minor crash in practice which forced a gearbox change on his team and a launch from last on the grid.
Stroll admits that the new-spec 2017 cars are difficult and physically consuming to drive.
"When you're in control of the car, it has a lot of grip, but when that grip goes away, it's very difficult to recover," the Canadian is quoted by Brazil's UOL.
"The cars of the last few years were different and you could play with them without losing the car."
Given his novice status, Stroll expected to be clearly outperformed by experienced team mate Felipe Massa.
"I did not expect to compete with my teammate or fight for podiums," Stroll insisted.
"I came to Melbourne to see where I was and get more comfortable with the car. I know there are 19 more races where many things will work but many will go awry as well."
Obviously, the step for Formula 3 to the pinnacle of motorsport is a huge one, compounded by F1's rule change which has greatly increased mechanical grip.
"Physically it's a beast to be controlled and mentally it's definitely more intense as well," he said.
"The cornering speeds are much higher, the braking zones are much smaller, things happen much faster. It's a big step."