Stroll happy to return for Japanese GP: “I’m much better than I was on Sunday!”

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Photo credit: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula 1 Team

Lance Stroll will be back behind the wheel of his Aston Martin for this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, after sitting out last race following a heavy shunt during qualifying. In the dying seconds of Q1 in Singapore Stroll lost control coming out of the final corner, slamming into the barriers with no less than 50G, even dislocating the concrete walls that were behind the TecPro.

And while he was phyiscally cleared he didn’t feel to well, and in conjunction with the lengthy repair job Aston Martin decided it was best to sit out the race.

“I’m much better than I was on Sunday! I’m feeling OK now,” Stroll told the press during Thursday’s pre-race media session.

“I was fine [in that] I was healthy to race but I wasn’t physically feeling good enough to do Singapore, which is the hardest race of the year,” the young Canadian reflects on last weekend. “I felt it creeping up on me on Saturday night and I knew it wasn’t going to be fun waking up on Sunday morning

“I went through all the concussion protocols and stuff. It was, just kind of see how you feel later in the night and all that stuff, and then make a decision tomorrow.”

And while not eager to sit out the race, especially one in Singapore where a lot can happen, Stroll admitted it was better to remain in the garage.

“For me it’s always an opportunity to race on Sunday and try to score some points. We saw drivers start pretty far back on Sunday and manage to climb through the field and score points. You never know what happens.

“If I had felt fine and really good I would have raced but I really didn’t feel like it was the right thing to do. I really think it would have delayed my recovery to come here and feel 100%.”

Part of the crash could be contributed to the high exit kerb in the final turn, which heavily unsettled the car, but the one-time polesitter refused to blame the track for the crash.

“I mean, if it was maybe a bit flatter it could prevent something like that happening, but I think that’s also the nature of street circuits,” he explains. “Singapore, Monaco, Baku, those kind of places, if there wasn’t a wall there then it would be like all the other tracks and I think that’s kind of the nice challenge about street circuits — when you do push a little bit too hard the track bites back.”

Taking the valueable lesson with him to Japan, Stroll is ready to race at Suzuka.

“For every experience you learn from it and then put it behind you and full focus on the next weekend. That’s how I’m looking at the whole thing.

“It was definitely frustrating to finish the weekend like that, there was a lot more potential in the car and the weekend, but that was how it ended and now I’m fully focused and looking forward to Suzuka.”

And with a pointless finish for Team Silverstone a good result would be very welcome, although Stroll isn’t to sure where the AMR-23 ranks among the competition.

“It’s always tricky to answer this question — it’s such a tight field now and I think we’re a bit on the draggy side,” he explained “Here, there’s still a lot of straights so it is important to be efficient. I’m not sure how our pace will be in Sector 1 in the high-speed corners, but I think if we manage to get the car well balanced, set up properly and we’re not too draggy, then we’ll have a good weekend.

“But like I said, it’s really tough to answer those questions because I don’t think it’s as clear about where you would be on certain tracks as it was in previous years, because it feels just so tight now.

“We see a lot of teams bounce back and forward (from) where they might have been last weekend and then on a different kind of track, the situation changes a lot, so I hope we can be very competitive.”