Fernando Alonso defends teammate Stroll: “I don’t think he is missing any pace”

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Fernando Alonso’s 2023 has been very impressive so far, with the Spanish driver on the podium in five out of six races so far and a fourth place to his name.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for his teammate at Aston Martin, Lance Stroll. The Canadian driver hasn’t had the easiest of the seasons up to now, as he suffered from a cycling incident that left him with multiple injuries, including broken wrists, just weeks before the opening round in Bahrain.

Stroll managed to compete in the actual race after skipping the pre-season testing, achieving a sixth place, but he had to retire in Saudi Arabia due to a technical issue. In the four following rounds he was twice in the points, with a best finish of P4 in the chaotic end of the Australian GP.

However, he was out of the top ten in Miami and had to retire in Monaco after multiple crashes in mixed conditions.

Alonso praised his teammate’s ability, pace and support ahead of his home race, the upcoming Spanish GP, highlighting his not brilliant physical health and the technical issues he suffered from:

“He has been very unlucky the last two events we go back to Bahrain, driving with one hand he was very fast. Then Jeddah he had the exhaust problem when he was in front of the Ferraris in P5.

“Then in Miami we were risking too much probably in Q1, and that compromised the race. In Monaco the debris from Lando’s car, the McLaren, completely compromised the whole weekend. Obviously this put the headlines, very easy to be hard on that.”

The two times world champion also remarked that the young Canadian driver had shown potential in the streets of Monaco ahead of the decisive qualifying session as he logged the third quickest time in final practice: “If you see the whole weekend, in Monaco in FP3, he was within one tenth and a half of the fastest.”

“He is providing the right feedback, info about strategy and everything. So I really hope for him that he has more luck because I don’t think he is missing any pace. Just opportunistic moments that were not on his side,” he concluded with the best wishes for the three times podium finisher.

Photo credits: Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team

The Spaniard also sple about last weekend’s Monaco GP, that had seen him end the race in P2: “There wasn’t Perez and we finished P2, but Max showed a very fast pace on the mediums. In Monaco Red Bull showed its race pace, and I don’t think that we have gotten closer to them.”

Alonso also mentioned that Aston Martin will be showcasing some upgrades in his home race on Sunday, but admits that, compared to the amount of improvements brought so far by the top teams they will be rather limited:

“We have some new parts. I’m not sure exactly what, you will see it on the documents that the FIA is releasing. I think front wing, there is some modification there, and we’re bringing always new parts to the car. Some of them are just circuit-specific, sometimes it’s just an improvement in lap time.”

It’s his first season with the British team, but he has been positively impressed by the effort everyone in Silverstone makes to try and keep up:

“I’m happy with how we are approaching every race, there is something always new on our car, try to keep up the pace with the top teams. I think we’re still growing in that area of the team, we found ourselves in a very competitive place this year, that we didn’t expect, so I think we still need to speed up things.

“I think Ferrari is already two floors into this season, Mercedes obviously with a completely new car in Monaco and more upgrades here, Red Bull – Baku package and another one here. So we understand that we are not in that position yet, but we stay humble, we stay delivering the job on Sundays and try to score more points than them,” he summed up his place for the weekend.