Jenson Button has pointed out a fact about Lance Stroll’s F1 2023 season that the Canadian probably will not enjoy hearing.
Stroll currently has 37 points from the first eight races of the year, placing him in eighth place in the Drivers’ Championship. While this is his highest-ever position in the championship, it pales into insignificance in comparison to what Fernando Alonso has achieved on the other side of the Aston Martin garage.
The Spaniard has racked up six podium finishes in eight races, with two-second places being his highlights so far, with a fourth and seventh place in the other two races. As a result, he has 117 points – triple Stroll’s tally – and is third in the Drivers’ Championship, just nine points behind Sergio Perez.
Jenson Button: Lance Stroll has only had one good race
Aston Martin lie third in the Constructors’ Championship as a result but would be comfortably in second place if both drivers were scoring as strongly as Alonso is managing.
It has led to increased scrutiny on Stroll’s form, who finished in ninth place at last weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix on a day when Alonso finished second, given that his team are in danger of finishing in a much lower position than their car suggests is possible – something which would have a direct impact on their prize money funding for next season.
“He’s had one good race – Barcelona,” 2009 F1 World Champion Jenson Button bluntly said, when asked for his thoughts on Stroll’s season so far.
Stroll out-qualified Alonso in Spain, following a mistake from the Spaniard that resulted in a damaged floor during qualifying and finished just ahead of the two-time World Champion as Alonso opted against attacking his team-mate in the closing stages of the race.
Button commented that Stroll’s pre-season wrist injuries, picked up in a cycling accident, combined with Alonso’s relentless form, may be hampering Stroll’s season.
“Apart from [Spain], it’s been really difficult for him because he’s obviously been hurting – he’s had his injury – and he’s up against his team-mate, who’s Fernando Alonso,” Button said.
“Who is on his game every second he’s in the car, so it’s always going to be difficult for him.”
Lance Stroll did ‘really well’ in home race showing
Having started his home race in Canada from 16th, his salvaging of a ninth place finish earned him the praise of Aston Martin team boss Mike Krack.
“I think he did really well,” Krack told the media. “[In qualifying], he struggled with grip, and if you struggle like that, and you don’t have the confidence, then it’s very difficult.
“[During the race], I think he drove really well. We took him out of traffic, and when he was out of traffic, he managed the lap times of the frontrunners on hard tyres.
“If you are in this DRS train, it’s really hard. To come from 16th to ninth is a great achievement. On paper, it looks only ninth, and when your team-mate finishes second, you think it’s not a good performance.
“But when you see where you’ve come from, I think it was very good.”
But ex-McLaren and Red Bull driver David Coulthard is not convinced Stroll has what it takes to help Aston Martin achieve what appears possible this year.
“The stopwatch doesn’t lie,” he said on the Formula For Success podcast.
“[That is a] brilliantly simple statement of truth. I’m not saying Lance isn’t good enough, he’s won everything all the way through his journey towards Formula 1.
“I think there have been some elements of misfortune in his run this year. [But] there’s a point where you can’t keep making excuses.”