Lance Stroll says that he is willing to race in Bahrain with “a bit of discomfort” following recent surgery for a fractured wrist.
Stroll was forced to skip pre-season testing after he was involved in a biking accident in Spain.
It was unclear if he would be fit enough to compete in the season-opening grand prix in Bahrain, however Aston Martin communicated on Thursday that the Canadian driver would be in the car for the weekend.
Stroll says that he wouldn’t risk further damage by competing if he wasn’t healed enough, but says he is prepared to endure minor discomfort behind the wheel.
“I want to have every chance to go racing,” he said. “If I feel like I’m fit enough to race with a bit of discomfort, I’m going to do it.
“We’re professional athletes. In every sport we’re sometimes in a bit of discomfort. If I felt it was not smart or there was a risk or I felt my bones were not ready, I wouldn’t do it.
“F1 is a long season, it’s 23 races, it’s not all about being here in Bahrain. But I feel confident, doctors feel confident, so here I am.”
Aston Martin placed reserve driver Felipe Drugovich on standby in case Stroll wasn’t available to race, with the reigning Formula 2 champion also having time behind the wheel during pre-season testing.
Stroll says that in the first days after he sustained the injury, it was looking unlikely that he would be ready for the Bahrain race weekend.
“It was a day-by-day thing,” he said. “With the injuries its always hard to tell. It’s not a really clear answer how long it will take.
“The first few days were rough, it looked like it was going to be tough but then the last four or five days it’s really been improving a lot every day.
“I’ve still got 20 hours or something. So every minute, hour counts and I was feeling good in the sim yesterday. Full lock, and all lock and all range of motion feels good.”
Confusion over Stroll’s condition was amplified by the lack of public communication he delivered – however he explained that it was simply a private matter that he didn’t wish to share.
“It was a private matter, I was dealing with a lot,” he commented. “There was a lot going on. I was going into surgery, I was dealing with rehab.
“I didn’t have a clear answer how long it was going to take to recover and I was completely focused and motivated to make it here to Bahrain and that’s where my head was at.”