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Lance Stroll

Stroll is currently Aston Martin's weak link and is costing them

Lance Stroll has had a mixed start to the season and needs to improve his form to match Fernando Alonso's exploits.

Stroll Monaco
Analysis
To news overview © XPBimages

During the 2023 Formula 1 pre-season, Fernando Alonso was being as savvy as ever when he declared new Aston Martin teammate Lance Stroll to be World Champion material.

Should the veteran be beaten by the Canadian, he could point to the fact that he had told the world just how good Stroll is and, if Alonso beat Stroll, he could turn around and say: "I beat a potential World Champion."

The declaration was taken with a pinch of salt owing to the fact that Alonso would prove to be a much sterner challenge to Stroll than a Sebastian Vettel who was half-way out the Silverstone exit door.

And while Alonso has been the star of the season, with five podiums from six races to be snipping at Sergio Perez's heels in second place in the Drivers' standings, Stroll's patchy form is a cause for concern.

Put simply, if he does not address this, it will end up costing Aston Martin the golden opportunity they currently have to finish in second place in the Constructors'.

Stroll is a decent driver

Stroll is a perfectly respectable Grand Prix driver – you don't score a handful of podiums and bag a stunning pole position as he did at the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix if you are not.

He is also an excellent driver in the wet, as evidenced by a fantastic start at the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix where he spotted a slither of dry track by the pit wall, stamped on the throttle and rocketed up the order.

But in the last two races in Miami and Monaco, while Alonso has hauled 33 points, Stroll has a total of zero.

He was knocked out in Q1 in Florida and could not make his way back into the points, while in Monte Carlo, a Q2 elimination ruined his Sunday as he was caught in a typical Principality Sunday traffic jam.

He was by far not the only driver to be caught out at the treacherous Mirebeau, but then hit the barrier twice in a matter of moments at the hairpin and Mirebeau lower before retiring.

That came after an opening lap where he tried to drive the AMR23 around the outside of Alex Albon's Williams at the hairpin in an overly ambitious move, which predictably ended with him being squeezed into the barrier.

Granted, he was managing an issue on the car in the race and ran over debris in qualifying which blunted his attack, but after his strong start to the season (whilst injured, let's not forget), Stroll is beginning to become the weak link in Aston's operation, as the numbers prove.

Percentage of points scored by each driver

Team Driver 1 points Driver 2 points Percentage of points scored
Ferrari Sainz - 48 Leclerc - 42 87.50%
Red Bull Verstappen - 144 Perez - 105 72.91%
Mercedes Hamilton - 69 Russell - 50 72.46%
Alpine Ocon - 21 Gasly - 14 66.66%
Alfa Romeo Bottas - 4 Zhou - 2 50%
McLaren Norris - 12 Piastri - 5 41.66%
Haas Hulkenberg - 6 Magnussen - 2 33.33%
Aston Martin Alonso - 93 Stroll - 27 29.03%
AlphaTauri Tsunoda - 2 de Vries - 0 0%
Williams Albon - 1 Sargeant - 0 0%

Stroll is worst-performing teammate

While Alonso has finishes of 3-3-3-4-3-2 across the first six races, Stroll has 6-DNF-4-7-12-DNF, giving him just 27 points to Alonso's haul of 93, which also include a sixth and seventh in the Azerbaijan Sprint, respectively.

It gives him a percentage haul of Alonso's points of just 29.03%, which is the lowest of the eight teams where both drivers have scored points, with AlphaTauri and Williams still having a driver pointless.

Near the top of this list are both Ferrari and Mercedes – with Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc actually the best performing teammates, with Leclerc hauling 87.50% of Sainz's points, while George Russell has 72.46% of Lewis Hamilton's haul.

Ferrari and Mercedes are Aston's biggest challengers for second place in the Constructors' – Red Bull are long gone – and so it is an alarming statistic that Stroll only has 29.03% of Alonso's tally.

With both of those teams operating at a high level and both drivers scoring at a consistent rate, Stroll's patchy form will end up costing the team potentially millions of dollars when the prize money is handed out after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

A change in mindset

Stroll is also undergoing a mindset change in the way he goes about racing, having been largely fighting in the midfield during his career thus far, save for the 2020 season.

Racing in the midfield, hoping for the odd Q3 appearance here and there, is an entirely different beast to having equipment capable of fighting for pole positions and regular podiums.

Of Stroll's 45 points finishes in F1, 42 of them have been between P4 and P10 (although interestingly no fifth places), with only seven above P6.

Consistently hauling P6-P10 in a tight midfield battle is excellent form and would more than secure a fifth or sixth place in the Constructors', but in the white-hot battle at the front of Grand Prix racing, it simply will not cut the mustard and will be the difference between second in the Constructors' and fourth.

For an upwardly mobile team with the grandest of ambitions, it is not good enough form. If Alonso is hauling podiums in the second best car, the sister machine should be somewhere close behind, and occasionally ahead. Stroll is 0-7 in both qualifying and races, although he did retire in Saudi Arabia with a car problem.

Stroll has no doubts about his future in the team and the step up in calibre to a firing-on-all-cylinders Alonso is about a big as a reality check any Grand Prix driver could receive, given his tendency to demolish teammates.

Aston Martin need Stroll to seriously up his game or risk some awkward questions as to the massive discrepancy between their drivers that could cost them.

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