Stroll still pained by wrist injuries
By Ian Parkes
Sunday 2nd April, 2023 - 4:30am
Lance Stroll has revealed he is still “hurting” from the wrist injuries sustained in pre-season training which also claims plays on his mind.
Stroll was forced to sit out the three-day pre-season test with Aston Martin at the Bahrain International Circuit after breaking both wrists in a cycling accident.
With a number of drivers on standby for the opening race at the same circuit a week later, the Canadian driver made a stunning recovery to qualify eighth and finish sixth.
Stroll has yet to reach the heights of his new team-mate for this season in Fernando Alonso who has finished third in both of the opening two races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
In qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, the 24-year-old will start sixth, two places and less than two-tenths of a second behind two-time F1 champion Alonso.
It is the closest Stroll has been to Alonso so far this season.
Asked whether he felt he was getting closer to his more illustrious team-mate, Stroll replied: “Yeah, for sure.
“I’m still just understanding the limits of this car, and I’m still also getting confidence back in my wrists.
“It was just over a month ago I crashed and I’m still kind of hurting, so that’s in the back of my mind, but that’s not an excuse.
“I’m still definitely figuring some stuff out with the car and trying to find some speed in myself and in the car.
“But it’s awesome. We’re fighting for good positions this year and the car feels great.
“Sunday has generally been strong for us so I’m excited for tomorrow to see what we can do.”
Lower top-10 no longer good enough for Aston – Stroll
After retiring in the last race at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Stroll is now naturally looking to build on his strong qualifying performance in Melbourne.
There is also a natural feeling that simply grabbing a handful of points is beyond the expectations of the team.
“That’s the nature of the sport when you have a car that’s able to finish on the podium and get in the top five,” added Stroll.
“Last year, let’s say, we were satisfied with 10th, eighth, ninth, and this year that’s not so satisfying.
“It’s just the nature of the game, that as the car gets better you want to get more out of it and finish higher up, so that’s the goal now.”
Like Alonso, who qualified fourth, Stroll recognises Aston Martin may have been usurped as the second-quickest car around Albert Park given the performance of Mercedes.
With George Russell and Lewis Hamilton lining up second and third behind polesitter Max Verstappen in his Red Bull, Stroll said: “The surprise was Mercedes. They were really quick.
“They’ve been looking good all weekend but they definitely stepped it up for qualifying so we’ll see what they can do tomorrow, see we can do tomorrow.”
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