Stroll satisfied with “good recovery” to 10th place after opening lap clash with Hulkenberg in the Bahrain F1 GP

Photo Credits: Aston Martin Aramco F1 Team
Spread the love

Lance Stroll finished the opening race of the 2024 Formula 1 season in a respectable 10th place, just behind his team-mate Fernando Alonso. But it wasn’t straightforward for the Canadian, after a first lap collision with Nico Hulkenberg’s Haas left the Aston Martin down in last place and facing the wrong way as the field zoomed past.

Stroll started the race in 12th and had a good launch off the line, overtaking the slow-starting Hulkenberg. But as the pair approached the first corner, Hulkenberg momentarily lost control of his Haas and hit Stroll in the rear, pivoting the Aston Martin around. The Canadian managed to get going again without any major damage to his AMR24, but rejoined in last place.

From there onwards, he had to start a race of damage limitation, and he did so masterfully. Hulkenberg had to pit at the end of the opening lap to change his front wing. Stroll dispatched of Valtteri Bottas’s Sauber with a clean move down into turn 11 on lap 5.

By lap 10 the Canadian entered the pits for the first time, changing from his soft tyres to a new set of the hard compound, and gained several places in this pit sequence. Firstly, Logan Sargeant’s faltering steering wheel meant the American fell down to last place instantly, and Stroll’s decently quick out lap and subsequent laps meant he managed to undercut a total of six cars in that process: Tsunoda, Magnussen, Albon, Ocon, Ricciardo and Gasly, jumping him all the way up to 11th and just 1.4s back from his team-mate.

From there onwards, he engaged in an almost stint-long battle with RB’s Yuki Tsunoda, who was on fresher hard tyres, and lost the position, down to 12th, but didn’t lose touch with the VCARB car and the Zhou Guanyu’s Sauber, who was P10 at the time – and he pitted first again on the second round of stops, meaning an undercut was again on the cards for the Canadian.

He rejoined from the pits very close to Zhou after the Chinese responded a lap later, but still managed to maintain his position. Five laps later, however, Stroll made his move down into turn one and took the place away from Zhou, securing a net 10th place which he would keep to the end of the race, despite being briefly up to ninth thanks to his team-mate having an offset strategy that meant he had to come through in the last few laps.

Speaking to F1’s official channel after the race, Stroll described his drive in the season opener as “satisfying” and a “good recovery” after the clash on the first lap, but was left frustrated on not being able to capitalise on a good launch:

“Yeah, for sure it was a good recovery,” he said. “After a good start – which was annoying I got got off the line well, got a couple positions – but then yeah thumped from behind back of the pack and climbed back up to tenth score point which was satisfying for sure.”

Despite the good result considering the circumstances, Stroll is well aware that Aston Martin still has “work to do” in order to catch up with the teams ahead and return to the impressive form they showed in the early part of the 2023 season:

“I think we have some work to do we finished ninth and tenth today, so you know teams in front of us a bit quicker, but [we’ll] keep pushing.”