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The factors that sparked 'noticeable' change in Stroll

After returning from a pre-season cycling accident and scoring points with Aston Martin in Bahrain, Lance Stroll has found himself in the spotlight so far in 2023. The likes of Damon Hill believe that the Canadian's outlook has changed along the way.

Damon Hill believes there has been a "noticeable" change in Lance Stroll over the winter, with various factors possibly contributing. The Canadian was forced to miss pre-season testing after injuring his wrists and toe in a cycling accident, but returned with a points-scoring P6 finish at the opening race in Bahrain. Stroll has also shared the story of his recovery with fans, and journalist Tom Clarkson – who hosts the F1 driver press conferences over race weekends – feels that Stroll has changed his approach to the media, possibly due to spending time with the Netflix crew filming Drive to Survive .

A 'marked change' in Stroll

"I think he is a much more engaging interview now than he has been in the past," Clarkson said on the F1 Nation podcast. "I've always felt in the past that he resents doing the media work whereas, this year, I've seen a marked change. "I do wonder whether it's got anything to do with the Netflix cameras, who went over the winter to Canada with him and spent a lot of time, and I'm told that he really enjoyed being with them. "Now when you speak to him, he smiles at you, he answers your questions fully. It's almost as if, a bit like [Fernando] Alonso in a way, he wants to be liked. "He's almost thinking of legacy and, instead of swimming against the current, why not swim with it occasionally and have an easier ride?"

Influence of Alonso

Hill has also witnessed a change in Stroll and questioned whether becoming teammates with Alonso has been a factor. "It is very noticeable that he's come out of his shell and is keen to engage, so some vibe has changed over the winter," Hill commented. "Maybe it's the spring in the step they've got with this car, and being with Fernando. Maybe Fernando has given him some tips as well, because he was really bigging him up after Saudi. He's probably never had that before." Fellow F1 presenter Natalie Pinkham feels that Stroll has benefitted from Alonso's influence at Aston Martin. "It's important to remember, they're at the opposite ends of their career," Pinkham said. "Lance isn't that young anymore, it's actually amazing to think how experienced he is. But Fernando I feel is sort of taking him under his wing in a very non-threatening way. "He's not coming in and saying, 'I'm going to be your team leader'. He said, 'I'm hopefully going to impart some knowledge and experience that you can benefit from', and it feels like they don't feel threatened by one another. "They're just growing together and bringing the team with them."

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