Lawrence Stroll will be ‘cracking the whip’ to get Lance Stroll on Fernando Alonso’s level

Oliver Harden
Aston Martin drivers Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso in conversation at the conclusion of Australian Grand Prix qualifying. Melbourne, April 2023.

Aston Martin drivers Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso in conversation at the conclusion of Australian Grand Prix qualifying.

F1 analyst Peter Windsor suspects Lawrence Stroll will be “cracking the whip” to get Lance Stroll up to Fernando Alonso’s standard at Aston Martin.

While Alonso has stood on the podium at six of the first eight races of his Aston Martin career, finishing second to Max Verstappen in Monaco and Canada, Stroll has endured a troubling start to the 2023 season.

After coming in for criticism for his performances in Miami and Monaco, Stroll seemed to steady himself with a fine drive to sixth in Spain, where he outqualified and outraced Alonso for the first time this year.

However, the 24-year-old struggled again at his home race in Montreal, where he could only recover to ninth from 16th on the grid.

Having measured up well alongside Sebastian Vettel in 2021-22, Stroll’s difficulties alongside Alonso have been said by some – including Windsor – to have revealed the difference between the two multiple World Champions.

And the Australian believes Stroll’s father may intervene to bring his son up to the level of Alonso going forward.

Asked by a viewer during a recent YouTube stream if Stroll is likely to be on a par with Alonso by the end of the season, Windsor responded: “I think if Lawrence Stroll has anything to do with it, he will.

“As I keep saying, I can’t imagine Lawrence Stroll’s that happy with everything, because his main thing about being in Formula 1 with Lance is that Lance is good enough to win grands prix and the World Championship and he’s going to create a team to prove that, and he’s going to have very good drivers in the other car as sort of benchmarks for Lance.

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“Vettel was a very good choice because he was at the back end of his career and periodically Lance could out qualify him and look quite good alongside this four-time World Champion, which was great.

“And then they thought Fernando would kind of be the same, I think… yeah, right. And I think that’s the problem and they think: ‘Wow, what have we created here?'”

Differences between team-mates are harder to spot at the Red Bull Ring, the venue for this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, due to the excess of long, line-locked corners particularly in the second half of the lap, with Valtteri Bottas often outpacing Lewis Hamilton in Spielberg during his five-year Mercedes career.

Windsor feels Stroll may benefit from that effect this weekend in a similar way to Sergio Perez, whose title challenge has collapsed in recent weeks as Max Verstappen sparked a run of four successive wins.

He explained: “Lance did OK in Barcelona and Canada was a bit of a disappointment – he’s never really gone that well in Canada – so we’ll see what happens in Austria.

“A bit like Perez, it’s difficult for Perez to be slow in Austria. I can’t imagine Stroll’s going to be that slow in Austria and Fernando, equally, might find Austria a bit boring as a track and you might not see… I wouldn’t say the best from Fernando, all I’m saying is Fernando won’t be able to do some of the magical things that he can do on other interesting circuits.

“He may not be able to do those in Austria because there aren’t many places to do them. And then don’t forget Fernando made that mistake in qualifying in Barcelona, so we’ll see.  Stroll’s got some difficult circuits coming up after Austria, we’ll see how it goes.

“Certainly, Lawrence will be cracking the whip – for sure. He’ll be saying: ‘I want to see my son up there, he’s as good as Fernando’ – whatever, something along those lines.”