‘Solely his fault’ – Lance Stroll F1 exit fear theory raised in scathing verdict

Jamie Woodhouse
Lance Stroll in his Aston Martin race gear at the AMR24 Silverstone shakedown.

Aston Martin's Lance Stroll.

Sky F1 commentator David Croft is shocked that Aston Martin attempted to defend Lance Stroll after his collision with Daniel Ricciardo in China, questioning whether there is more to this than meets the eye?

Stroll inflicted what would prove to be race-ending damage on Ricciardo’s RB car after steaming into the back of it ahead of a Safety Car restart, lifting it off the ground such was the force of the hit from Stroll.

Are Aston Martin trying to stop Lance Stroll from leaving?

Stroll, much to Ricciardo’s immense frustration, refused to accept blame for the incident, instead insisting that the “concertina effect” had left him unable to avoid contact. The stewards did not agree, as they handed Stroll a 10-second time penalty and added two points to his FIA Super Licence.

And Croft also is not buying the excuse from Stroll, as he made his opinion clear that Stroll is 100 per cent to blame on this one.

“The concertina effect, from what we could see at the time, looked to have been started by Fernando Alonso, to be fair, because he’s the one that locked-up,” Croft began when speaking on the Sky F1 podcast.

“But you do get that and of course they’re all slowing down, because the Safety Car is coming in and they’re going to get going again and at some stage Max is just going to launch, but he wants the best getaway, and all the drivers know this.

“And the only person you should be focusing on, focus on the guy in front. If you watch the onboard, Lance is clearly looking that way [to the right] into his mirrors. I don’t know why. What is he expecting to be happening on the right-hand side? Somebody shooting down or overtaking? No, you’re behind the Safety Car, you’ve got to watch the car in front.

“And it’s clear to me that he was looking in his mirrors and then looks straight and thinks [oh no] Daniel is a bit closer, tried to stop and couldn’t. It’s solely his fault.”

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Stroll was not alone in attracting criticism from Croft, who was also far from impressed with Aston Martin for their attempts to defend him, team principal Mike Krack calling the decision from the stewards “very fast and very harsh”.

Croft cannot see any logical ground for Aston Martin’s complaint, so looked back to how Aston Martin reacted in a similar way when Stroll’s team-mate Alonso was punished in Australia following a high-speed shunt for George Russell. With speculation swirling over Stroll’s F1 future, do Aston Martin fear losing him?

“I’m amazed that the team have come out and tried to defend this one as well,” Croft continued.

“It’s like the Fernando Alonso penalty in Australia, where three days later the team come out and defend Fernando Alonso and you think, ‘Why are you doing that? We’ve kind of passed that discussion now. Why are you waiting so long? Oh, yeah, you’re having contract negotiations, you’d like him to stay.’

“This is almost like, ‘We’re going to back Lance because we want him to stay with the team’. So is there a danger of Lance not being there? I don’t know the answer to that one.

“But I don’t understand the defence and I don’t understand why Lance just can’t put his hands up, because that’s the mature thing to say, ‘Yeah, I was looking in my mirrors’.”

Stroll has scored nine points across the opening five rounds of the F1 2024 campaign, compared to Alonso’s 31.

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