Former F1 driver and Aston Martin ambassador Pedro de la Rosa believes Lance Stroll has “definitely” been faster than Fernando Alonso at times in F1 2023.
Stroll continued his battle to prove to any remaining doubters that he deserves his place on the F1 grid, with a fresh multi-time World Champion challenge arriving on the other side of the Aston Martin garage for F1 2023 in the form of Alonso.
And paper suggests a landslide win for Alonso, the Spaniard making the podium eight times to Stroll’s zero and scoring 206 points to finish P4 in the Drivers’ Championship, while Stroll managed only 74.
Lance Stroll “definitely” quicker than Fernando Alonso in spells
De la Rosa though does not believe that the statistics do Stroll justice, saying the Canadian racer was “flying” in the latter rounds of F1 2023 as he scored points in four of the final five events, including back-to-back P5 finishes in Brazil and Las Vegas.
With that in mind, De la Rosa does not believe Alonso has wiped the floor with Stroll after all.
“He has been flying the last few races,” said De la Rosa on the F1 Nation podcast following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. “Okay, there have been races where they have been difficult and we’ve been at the back, Mexico, Austin, starting from the pit lane, but he’s been incredibly fast.
“And some races definitely faster than Fernando.
“And this has impressed me from Lance. His capacity really to improve, to learn and to grow stronger. And today was an example of that, he qualified P13, he finished P10 and he was catching the group in front, so it was a strong finish, definitely.”
Stroll was ready to race for the F1 2023 season-opener against all odds after suffering broken bones in a pre-season cycling accident, an example of resiliency and determination spotted in the 25-year-old by 1996 World Champion Damon Hill.
Stroll later suffered a poor string of races shortly after the summer break, leading to speculation over his future at Aston Martin, as Hill made the conclusion from these occurrences that Stroll is a driver who needs some kind of experience, such as the shock of being on the brink of losing his F1 seat, to hit top form.
“He has actually shown some real mettle this season,” said Hill.
“I know he had a bit of a slumpy bit, but he showed that he’s determined as well and I think with him, I get the feeling that he needs to find a cause or purpose, a real reason to want to drag that thing out of yourself.
“You know what it’s like Pedro, when you really really badly want something and I think he’s had an experience like this where you suddenly saw your dreams of being a Formula 1 driver maybe snatched away. And it makes you think a lot harder about what the value is of this opportunity you have in your life.”
Stroll will now look to carry the positive momentum over into F1 2024 as he gets another shot alongside Alonso at Aston Martin.