Lance Stroll’s key admission as ‘substantial’ pace gap to Alonso adds to Suzuka misery

Oliver Harden
Lance Stroll pulls a face at Suzuka 2024 with an inset of Fernando Alonso alongside him

Lance Stroll has largely struggled since Fernando Alonso became his Aston Martin team-mate in 2023

Lance Stroll has admitted he doesn’t understand why he was lacking pace compared to Fernando Alonso after a disastrous Japanese Grand Prix qualifying showing.

Aston Martin arrived at Suzuka armed with their first major upgrade package of the season, with Stroll exclusively running the new parts in Friday practice before Alonso received the update overnight.

Lance Stroll bemused by pace deficit to Fernando Alonso in Japanese GP qualifying

While Alonso utilised the upgrade to secure fifth on the grid – ahead of the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, Oscar Piastri’s McLaren and Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari – Stroll was knocked out in Q1 with a lap eight tenths slower than his team-mate.

Another early exit continued Stroll’s torrid run at Suzuka, with the Canadian eliminated in Q1 at every Japanese GP since the race returned to the F1 calendar in 2022.

Stroll has been left bemused by his lack of pace, admitting he is struggling to understand his deficit to Alonso. recommends

Follow’s WhatsApp channel for all the F1 breaking news!

F1 2024: Head-to-head qualifying record between team-mates

He said: “I just didn’t have the pace I needed in qualifying today and we don’t yet understand why.

“I think I was pushing to the limit of what my car was capable of, but I was lacking the speed to get out of Q3.

“The update package seems to be working on Fernando’s car, so we’ll take a look this evening to see if there’s anything else that could have been impacting my car.

“There’s a lot of work to do ahead of the grand prix; we’ll have to make the most of any opportunities that come our way tomorrow.”

Mike Krack, the Aston Martin team principal, also vowed to look into the difference between the two cars in qualifying and insisted the team remain hopeful of scoring points with both cars on Sunday.

He explained: “A bittersweet qualifying in Suzuka.

“Our target is always to get both cars into Q3. We did not achieve that, and so we need to have a closer look at Lance’s AMR24 as the gap between both cars was substantial.

“As the sessions progressed, Fernando managed to get more and more out of the car. We can be pleased with P5.

“The entire team has done a great job to prepare this update package. We worked with discipline, ensuring we ran back-to-back comparison tests yesterday to aid our decisions.

“I want to thank the team in the garage who stayed late to add the updates to Fernando’s car.

“Suzuka rewards a strong car, so we will see what tomorrow brings. We want to finish with both cars in the points.”

Read next: Winners and losers from the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix qualifying