The second fastest car on grand prix Sundays since its inception, Aston Martin’s AMR23 was no longer the strongest car after the Red Bull in Spain and Lance Stroll is worried.
Running their B-spec W14 at the Circuit de Catalunya, Mercedes recorded a double podium with Lewis Hamilton taking the chequered flag in second place ahead of George Russell with Hamilton almost 40 seconds ahead of the best-placed AMR23, driven by Stroll.
The Canadian finished the grand prix in sixth place, one position ahead of his team-mate Fernando Alonso, on a day in which Aston Martin had no answer to Mercedes’ pace.
Even more worryingly Stroll also couldn’t close in on the “problem child”, as Ralf Schumacher put it, that is Ferrari.
“[Mercedes] had a rocket ship,” he said as per Motorsport.com. “I’m not sure where they found that pace.
“I was expecting us to be the strongest car after Red Bull. I expected that after all the races this year. We just didn’t have it.
“[We had] a lot of degradation and [were] struggling with our pace compared to Merc, Ferrari. Red Bull is in another league. We just didn’t have the upper hand.”
Stroll believes it was the tyre degradation, something Aston Martin have barely struggled with this season, that was his main issue in the grand prix.
“Just deg,” he explained. “[Mercedes] just looked after their tyres really well.
“It felt like at the beginning of the first stint, when we were in third [at the very beginning of the race], I was comfortably just keeping that gap to Carlos, even pulling away from Lewis a little bit.
“But then, like five laps into the race, they just didn’t have any deg and I just felt the tyres dropping off.
“They were pushing on. Even looking at Russell’s race, I think they were able to do that all race. They seemed to have a really good car.”
The result of the Spanish Grand Prix meant Mercedes leapfrogged Aston Martin in the Constructors’ Championship, taking an 18-point lead in the battle for P2.
But with Aston Martin set to bring a big upgrade to the next race in Canada, Alonso has backed his team to surge ahead.
“In terms of Constructors, it’s true that Mercedes took some important points from us, but we took points from Ferrari again,” said the Spaniard.
“In Canada we will bring more stuff, in Silverstone too… It will depend on who brings the improvements. Even with a normal time, we would have been on a par with Hamilton and maybe we would have had a better chance.
“I think it’s a race and in Canada we crush them.”