Lance Stroll: Beating doctors’ predictions and earning respect from F1 fanbase

Henry Valantine
Lance Stroll is helped from his Aston Martin. Bahrain March 2023

Lance Stroll is helped from his Aston Martin. Bahrain March 2023

Lance Stroll has revealed early estimates from his doctors after he broke his wrist would not have seen him back in Formula 1 until at least Australia or Azerbaijan.

This would have kept him out of action for at least another month, possible two, beyond the season opener in Bahrain, but the Aston Martin driver made a miraculous recovery after a cycling accident saw him break his right wrist and damage his left, causing him to miss pre-season testing.

His condition was kept largely under wraps by Aston Martin as he went about trying to recover in time for the season to start at the weekend, but he was able to get behind the wheel of the AMR23 after having minor surgery on his wrist, before then completing 20 hours of simulator running among a busy rehabilitation schedule in time to be ready to compete.

A P6 finish was his reward for a remarkable turnaround after suffering his injuries, but he later revealed that the early prognosis from his doctors suggested he may have been set to miss multiple rounds of the season, let alone just Bahrain.

“I mean, it’s just been an insane journey,” Stroll told Sky Sports F1 after the chequered flag dropped in Sakhir.

“I was telling you guys yesterday, but the last two weeks have just been the most insane two weeks of my life.

“Terrible time to crash on a bicycle, and doctors were telling me maybe Australia, maybe Baku [for a comeback], and the light at the end of the tunnel was very hard to see.

“But I had an incredible medical team that helped me along the way. My osteopath Henry, who was with me 10 hours a day, the surgeon in Spain, who without him I wouldn’t be here – it would be impossible to be driving.

“There’s a list of people that I could name and without them I wouldn’t be here, so a huge thank you to them and well done to everyone back at the factory for building this incredible car that’s a pleasure to drive.”

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The quality of Lance Stroll’s Bahrain Grand Prix drive should not be overlooked

While team-mate Fernando Alonso took a podium finish, for Stroll to put his car in the top six after not being able to get the same time behind the wheel in testing was quite impressive in itself.

Coupled with the way he was seen handling the steering wheel too, taking his hand off and pushing from underneath at the hairpins to avoid crossover at his wrists, Stroll was forced to adapt and to do so at such short notice, while still performing well, is a significant ‘plus’ for him to take away from the opening weekend of the season.

While he will not have an easy time of things being Alonso’s team-mate, far from it, he should take plenty of encouragement from how he performed on Sunday and it seems, in the process, he is starting to win over even more of his sceptics who initially thought that he doesn’t belong in F1.