Lance Stroll admits Fernando Alonso is simply “quicker than me” at the wheel of an Aston Martin.
Indeed, while the almost-42-year-old Spaniard was outqualified by Stroll in Austria, Alonso has clearly dominated after switching from Alpine last year.
“Fernando is not better than last season – he is just as strong as before,” Alonso’s 2022 teammate, Esteban Ocon, said in Austria.
“He just has a better car this year.”
And the gap between Alonso and Stroll, the son of Aston Martin team owner Lawrence Stroll, has piled the pressure on the 24-year-old to up his game.
“He is pushing this car to the limit,” Diario Sport newspaper quotes Stroll as saying at the Red Bull Ring.
“He more or less finishes behind Max Verstappen in every race. It’s very impressive. But I’m motivated to work and get to that level.
“He’s the best teammate I’ve ever had,” the Canadian added. “In terms of outright pace, he has been quicker than me. I think he has showed the true performance of the car.
“Yeah, I definitely have some work to do, some things to improve,” Stroll admitted. “Fernando has been at a pretty high level, and I definitely have to work on some things to improve.”
Stroll said Alonso’s biggest skill is his ability to squeeze every last tenth out of any car.
“He has done it throughout his career,” he said of the two-time champion. “He gets the most out of every car he gets into and even when he didn’t have a winning car, he was able to win.”
Stroll, however, insisted that some of his struggle so far in 2023 can be traced to his pre-season wrist injuries.
“There are things about the car that you’re always looking for, and things about me too,” he said. “I missed a lot of tests at the beginning of the season and that’s always something important.
“But in all honesty, Fernando is at a very, very high level. Even when I felt like I had some of my best days or really good days, he was a little bit faster.”