Racing Point's Lance Stroll says a slow getaway at the restart of the Italian Grand Prix ruined an opportunity to win a race the Canadian believed was his to lose.
Stroll, who started 8th and held his own in the opening stages of the race, caught a lucky break when he opted not to pit under the successive safety car periods, a decision that pushed him up to P2 when the race was red-flagged following Charles Leclerc's crash.
The Canadian was then allowed to restart the race on a set of fresh tyres, but a slow launch off the grid and poor grip saw the Racing Point driver immediately lose positions to Pierre Gasly, Kimi Raikkonen, Antonio Giovinazzi and Carlos Sainz.
Stroll made up the lost ground on the two Alfa Romeos but was left chasing Gasly and Sainz for the remainder of the afternoon.
"It has been a couple of years since I stood on the podium, so it feels good to be back, and it was such a crazy race," he said, referencing his first career podium in F1 in Baku in 2017.
"I am so happy for Pierre, he really deserved it as he had a really great start. He stayed consistent all the way throughout the race.
"It is a bit of a bummer. I think it was kind of mine to lose starting from second, but I just had no grip at the start.
"I had a ton of wheel spin and everyone flew by me. I had a good scrap with Carlos on the first couple of laps, and I overtook around the outside, but he got me again down into Turn 1.
"We were battling out there, so I am happy to pick up third. I think the win slipped away from us today, but third is great."
Stroll admitted that a mid-race standing restart felt "bizarre".
"You’ve got to restart, and you are not used to that intermission halfway through a race," said the 21-year-old. "But it is great to finish third."
Stroll's third-place finish in the Italian Grand Prix is the first podium secured by his team since its change from Force India to Racing Point.