Aston Martin team owner Lawrence Stroll will be happier with Lance Stroll ahead of Fernando Alonso on the Austrian Grand Prix grid than he is when Alonso is fighting at the front.
That is the opinion of F1 commentator Peter Windsor after Stroll outqualified his illustrious team-mate for the second time in three races at the Red Bull Ring.
Stroll had come in for severe criticism after a challenging series of races alongside Alonso, who has claimed six podium finishes in his first eight races as an Aston Martin driver in 2023.
A Lance Stroll breakthrough in Austria?
However, Stroll hit back on Friday in Austria to pip Alonso to sixth on the grid for today’s race.
Speaking via his YouTube channel, former title-winning Williams team manager Windsor is convinced that team owner Stroll will be “absolutely delighted” with his son’s performance in Styria, more so even than when Alonso has emerged as the biggest challenger to the dominant Red Bulls this season.
And he believes the 24-year-old Canadian is now beginning to reap the rewards for addressing the shortcomings in his technique with esteemed driver coach Rob Wilson, who has worked alongside such figures as 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen, Valtteri Bottas and Kevin Magnussen in the past.
He said: “Lance Stroll wasn’t brilliant in Canada, but there was that mistake made in the Canadian Grand Prix when they didn’t put on the new set of tyres at the end [of Q2].
“But he was good in Spain and here in Austria he’s outqualified – by the smallest of margins – Fernando Alonso.
“He did a little bit of running on the soft tyre in the morning session whereas Fernando didn’t – I suppose Fernando might be thinking that – but for him to be a little bit ahead of Fernando, it’s exactly where his father wants him to be.
“His father will be absolutely delighted with this – much more than if Fernando was on the front row and Lance Stroll was seventh or eighth – I can tell you that.
“When he’s comfortable and he’s got a car that’s not as pointy as it was in the first few races – he’s definitely got a little bit of understeer built into that car now, it’s definitely much more of a driveable car from a Lance Stroll perspective – he can start to bring in a lot of that Rob Wilson, short corner stuff and he’s starting to do it.
“How do you beat Fernando Alonso in a very well-balanced, good-handling Aston Martin around Austria? Not an easy thing to do, but Lance Stroll did it.
“‘Beat’ is probably the wrong word but he’s slightly ahead of him – and I put a lot of that down to how much hard work he’s put in, so good luck to him for that.”
Stroll has just 37 points on the board ahead of today’s race compared to Alonso’s 117, with Aston Martin currently trailing Mercedes by 13 points in the fight for second in the Constructors’ Championship.