Defiant Aston Martin respond to theory Mercedes now a clear step ahead

Thomas Maher
Lance Stroll, Aston Martin and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, battle. Spain, June 2023.

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin on the inside of Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, as they battle. Spain, June 2023.

Aston Martin boss Mike Krack believes it’s too early to say whether Mercedes have toppled them as F1’s second-quickest team in 2023.

Aston Martin have been the surprise package of 2023 so far, with the Silverstone-based squad racking up podium after podium with five appearances in the first six races courtesy of Fernando Alonso.

But last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix was the first anonymous race for the team since the season began, with neither Alonso or Lance Stroll able to come home on the podium. This was despite Stroll running in the top three in the early stages after passing Lewis Hamilton, before the Mercedes showed much stronger race pace to get back ahead.

Aston Martin came home in sixth and seventh with Stroll and Alonso, respectively, their worst result of the year, and team boss Krack was reluctant to say whether or not Mercedes have seized the initiative in the battle to be the sport’s second-quickest squad.

“I think it is too early or too easy to say that, because we have not seen the full picture in qualifying,” he said on Sunday night.

“It’s something that is similar to how it is at the beginning of the year when we say we need three races to see where we are really.

“Now it could well be that others have made a bigger step. But our early analysis so far doesn’t reflect that.”

But Aston Martin will make “a step” next time out, with upgrades en route for the AMR23 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the Canadian Grand Prix. recommends

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Stroll was surprised by the extent of Mercedes’ advantage in Barcelona, given that George Russell managed to get by having started from 12th on the grid.

“They had a rocket ship – I’m not sure where they found that pace,” he said.

“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.”

Fernando Alonso, who joked that the Spanish GP would be the last race of the year where he finished off the podium, promised that Aston Martin will come out on top of their battle with their engine supplier team.

“In Canada, we will bring more stuff, in Silverstone too…” he said.

“I think it’s a race and, in Canada, we crush them.”