‘People who know Lance Stroll say he doesn’t work hard enough’

Oliver Harden
Lance Stroll arrives in the paddock. Bahrain March 2023.

Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll arrives in the paddock ahead of the season opener. Bahrain March 2023.

A respected Formula 1 reporter has identified what he sees as Lance Stroll’s poor work rate as a key factor preventing the Aston Martin driver from making the most of his natural talent. 

Stroll has been regularly dismissed as a pay driver since arriving on the grid with Williams as an 18-year-old in 2017, but the Canadian has shown flashes of real potential by delivering a number of eye-catching results across his career to date to arguably dispel such a view.

Having finished on the podium in just his eighth F1 appearance in Baku in 2017, Stroll became the youngest-ever driver to start from the front row of the grid at Monza that year.

After moving to Racing Point for 2019, Stroll claimed his maiden F1 pole position in a rain-affected qualifying at the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix and took two podium finishes that season in Italy and Sakhir.

Stroll also won plaudits after recovering from a pre-season bike accident to finish sixth in the 2023 season opener in Bahrain, but he has been convincingly outperformed by his new team-mate, two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso, over recent weeks.

At last weekend’s Azerbaijan GP, Stroll finished almost 30 seconds adrift of Alonso having qualified four-tenths behind him.

Speaking via the BBC’s Chequered Flag podcast, F1 journalist Andrew Benson believes most drivers would struggle to match a competitor of Alonso’s stature in identical machinery.

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But with Stroll’s consistency questioned, he suggested the 24-year-old is not giving himself the best chance of realising his full potential.

He explained: “He’s got talent, Lance Stroll, there’s no question about that.

“[At Williams] I think he qualified fourth and ended up on the front row at Monza in 2017 in the wet.

“He put the Racing Point on pole in Turkey in 2020, that famous race, and led that race for a long way.

“But he’s not consistent and people who know him say he doesn’t work hard enough.

“I think he’s finding what nearly every team-mate Fernando Alonso has ever had is finding. The guy is just super special and he sets a standard that very, very few people can even get close to.”

With Stroll’s father Lawrence owning the Aston Martin team, Alonso’s willingness to help his new team-mate has been noted by many observers in 2023.

Alonso was heard offering advice to Stroll during the race in Baku, suggesting a change to the car’s brake balance over team radio at one point. The 41-year-old later explained that he is preparing Stroll to lead the team over the long term.

“I know that I will be in the sport for a few more years but not many, and he will lead the team for the next 10 or 15 years, so I hope I can help Lance in the next few years,” he said.

Alonso currently sits P3 in the Drivers’ standings with 60 points, 33 clear of Stroll.