Lance Stroll said that the Aston Martin car would be two seconds faster if it was a copy of Red Bull’s RB18 after both drivers exited during Q1.
Aston Martin have been the centre of attention for the wrong reasons since they unveiled the heavily upgraded AMR22 on Friday.
The car, which bears a striking resemblance to Red Bull’s, was deemed to be legal by the FIA but Christian Horner and co. remain unhappy.
Helmut Marko said they had found evidence that data was downloaded but for all the similarities off-track, the cars on Saturday proved distinctly different on-track.
Stroll will start P18 with his team-mate Sebastian Vettel two places higher up the grid while Red Bull occupy P2 and P5. The Canadian driver gave this difference as proof the Aston Martin team had not copied Red Bull.
“What position is Red Bull? We’d be two seconds faster if it was a copy,” Stroll said, as reported by the Race.
“I’ve been really struggling with the balance of the car and not getting to grips with it all weekend.
“It’s a completely different aero package, ride heights, set-ups, a lot of things change, we have to see if we missed something or we could have done something differently.
“I hope we missed something. Last race we were in Q3 and now we’re out of Q1 so miles off the pace. We have to figure out why.”
An early exit in qualifying for us.
— Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) May 21, 2022
Vettel was similarly disheartened despite his marginally better finish saying that he had expected to be P10 following the extensive upgrades.
“I knew the lap time wasn’t great but I knew it was hot and I saw after the first run that nobody was really smashing it in terms of lap time,” said Vettel.
“I was surprised because I expected to be better off today, somewhere around P10. We’re not, simple as that.”
The four-time World Champion also said he spent most of Friday getting to grips with the car but was disappointed not to carry his practice speed into qualifying.
“I just couldn’t carry the speeds that I wanted to or was planning to,” he said.
“The lap was good and there was nothing wrong with it, it was just very busy, I was obviously sideways a lot and so on.
“We don’t have porpoising for a start and we were experimenting lots of things. We know it’s very different, the way the car behaves and wants to be driven.
“I think yesterday I spent mostly figuring that out. I thought I was in a good shape, also this morning getting straight back into it.
“I can tell you now about details, how to brake, turn in, but I don’t think that’s useful.”
Torquing Point: Aston Martin bringing 'half a new car' to Spain
Aston Martin are arguably making bigger changes than any other team when their B-spec AMR22 heads to Barcelona.