(Miami) When he left the paddock after free practice on Friday, Lance Stroll looked good. When La Presse tells him that he is having his best career start to the season, the Quebec driver neither affirms nor denies. Rather, he is humble.
“I think we started the season well,” he replies. We scored some good points in the first race, but there are still plenty until the end of the season. We have to stay focused and keep up the good work. »
If Stroll’s modesty is to his credit, we need to set the record straight. The number 18’s career-best start so far had come in 2020; a collection of 20 points in its first four races. In 2021, after so many Grands Prix, he had accumulated five points. In 2022? A measly little point.
Which brings us to the current season. For the first race, in Bahrain, Stroll managed to recover in extremis from multiple fractures suffered during a bicycle accident. Despite some pain, he took sixth place, ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell. He was forced to retire in the following race, before finishing fourth in Australia and seventh in Azerbaijan. Total points so far: 27.
These results become even more interesting when we look at the ranking of manufacturers. Aston Martin, after two seasons to finish in the bottom third of the table, is in second place… ahead of Mercedes and Ferrari.
“It’s very tight between us, Mercedes, Ferrari,” the 24-year-old driver told us. I think it’s just important to keep the focus. »
The successes of Aston Martin are also largely attributable to the results of veteran Fernando Alonso, the driver who provokes cries of fans every time he appears in the paddock in Miami. The double world champion, newly arrived at Aston Martin, is having an excellent start to the campaign, with three podiums in the first four races.
Since the start of the season, the 41-year-old driver has mentioned his young teammate in his interviews whenever he gets the chance. The two teammates, who have known each other for several years, seem to have a privileged relationship.
“He’s got a lot of experience, he’s very quick, he’s very strong,” Stroll told La Presse. Of course we talk a lot about the car, we have the same ideas in terms of what we want to get out of the car, how we want to improve it. For the moment, it is sure that we have a good relationship. »
According to Canadian Grand Prix promoter Francois Dumontier, Alonso is offering Stroll the support Sebastian Vettel should have given him over the past two seasons.
“When Fernando found himself without a steering wheel, Lawrence immediately made him an offer: your job is to help Lance, to educate him, to help him in competition. Share your settings, say your opinions, but also help him when he does interviews, help him behave like a real professional pilot. »
This season, Formula 1 fans are entitled to a new Stroll. More confident, more comfortable. The Quebecer, who has often been criticized by fans in recent years, “is better than what he has shown since the start of his career,” Dumontier believes.
“I think Lance is going to do well this year. [Aston Martin] has a good car, but he’s one to watch in the future. »
With the approach of the Canadian Grand Prix, which will take place from June 16 to 18, the promoter is delighted with the results of Aston Martin.
“We can’t be happier right now. Aston Martin is like a Canadian team. […] If [Stroll and Alonso] can perform well like that in Montreal, maybe the perception of the world will change on Lance. »