Ex-F1 driver leaps to defence of Lance Stroll as Aston Martin exit rumours swirl

Jamie Woodhouse
Lance Stroll at the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Aston Martin's Lance Stroll.

Pedro de la Rosa stressed that Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll is the best Aston Martin driver line-up possible, as 1996 World Champion Damon Hill gave fresh momentum to the Carlos Sainz in, Stroll out speculation.

While Alonso has enjoyed a typically strong start to the F1 2024 campaign, scoring 24 of their 33 points and recently signing a multi-year contract extension, the pressure is mounting once more on team-mate Stroll, as Aston Martin fight to recover the momentum which had made them arguably the second-fastest team early in 2023.

‘Lance Stroll faster than Fernando Alonso at times’

And if they are to make that progress, further doubts have arisen over Stroll’s suitability for the task, ex-F1 driver Christian Danner and BBC F1 commentator Harry Benjamin among those sounding the alarm bells, while Hill now has advocated that an Alonso and Sainz pairing would be “very strong” for Aston Martin.

Sainz is on the lookout for a home on the F1 2025 grid with his Ferrari seat to be taken by Lewis Hamilton, despite a highly-impressive start to the season for Sainz which has seen him claim victory in Australia and two further P3 finishes.

Speaking on the F1 Nation podcast, Hill joked: “The idea that Carlos would displace Fernando, I’m not sure if he’s got the nerve to do that.

“But anyway, I think that Pedro is the person to correct me on this one, but maybe Lance, if he decides to go and play tennis or something, two Spanish drivers would be a very strong team at Aston Martin.”

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De la Rosa, who now serves as an Aston Martin ambassador, indeed chose to correct Hill, as he stressed that there is no reason why Stroll would want to quit F1, nor grounds to remove him from the team which is owned by his father Lawrence Stroll.

“Why should Lance not continue?” De la Rosa said sternly in response to Hill.

“I mean, there’s every reason to continue in the team with all the projects and that’s the reason why Fernando decided to stay.

“He [Stroll] has had two incredible races in Jeddah and Australia where there was some parts of the race that he was faster than Fernando.

“So I mean, come on. Why would you want to not continue racing? If you can see what’s going on behind the scenes in the factory with the new wind tunnel, with people joining the team, we’re generating here an incredible team for the future.

“I think also, changes on the driver line-ups are bad in Formula 1 if you have a strong line-up. And I just believe that the way we should keep going is just by keeping our drivers, because that’s the strongest team we can be.”

Aston Martin heading into Round 5 of F1 2024 – the Chinese Grand Prix – P5 in the Constructors’ Championship, just a single point behind Mercedes.

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