Fernando Alonso brushes off Lance Stroll’s near-miss: We got lucky!

Thomas Maher
Aston Martin drivers Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Sakhir, March 2023.

Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Sakhir, March 2023.

Fernando Alonso believes Aston Martin ‘got lucky’ after both he and Lance Stroll were fortunate to continue after contact on the opening lap.

Alonso was clear of both Mercedes’ George Russell and Aston Martin teammate Stroll as the field approached Turn 4 on the opening lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix, only for Stroll to perform a late-braking move to get past the Mercedes.

However, with Alonso taking a tighter apex at Turn 4, it led to Stroll barrelling into the corner and needing to hit the brakes hard to avoid wiping out his teammate – the two cars making contact but able to continue.

Alonso didn’t know who was at fault for the collision, and said “I’ve been hit at Turn 4, they cannot do that,” over team radio. Aston Martin clearly didn’t fancy telling their driver Stroll had been responsible for the near-miss, and opted against doing so as Alonso later complained over the radio about how he felt a penalty was warranted.

Fernando Alonso doesn’t point the finger at Lance Stroll

Having finished the race on the podium in third place, Alonso quickly found out after the chequered flag that Stroll was to blame for the incident but cut a very diplomatic figure as he spoke to media. The pair had a serious collision at the United States Grand Prix towards the conclusion of last season before becoming teammates, with Alonso also choosing to be diplomatic on that occasion.

“Into Turn 4, I thought it was George!” Alonso smiled.

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“But I saw the replay on TV later, and it was Lance. He had a very good start, because he was alongside me into Turn 4. We got lucky, obviously, that both cars didn’t have any problem and we could continue.

“It was our lucky day for many things, for this contact, and also to have cars with strong contact.”

Mike Krack: These are things that can happen

Team boss Mike Krack spoke about how a team bosses’ “worst nightmare” almost came true on the very first lap of the new season, but brushed off the significance of the incident.

“These are things that, on Lap 1, can happen,” he explained.

“Lance was fighting very hard with George [Russell] on the outside. So I don’t like to see that either, I think that’s clear.

“But we let them race on Lap 1 and 2, and continuous, so it’s something that can happen.”

As for whether there had been damage incurred on either car, Krack couldn’t say: “To be honest, I haven’t checked the cars. I’ve not seen the cars yet. On the data, we didn’t see anything.”

Lance Stroll: My brakes were on fire after that!

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after the race, Stroll explained how the incident came to be from his perspective.

“It was really, really terrible timing, honestly!” he said.

“I was down the inside of Russell, trying to stay in front of him, so braked late so then Fernando went for the cut back on Lewis and stopped the car in the middle of Turn 4. We just came together, so it was really horrible timing for all those things to happen with the great car we had today.

“But, very fortunately, we both saved it and went on to have a good race and scored points. My brakes were on fire after that! We dodged a bullet there…”