Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll says minor details have been responsible for his recent slump in form.
The Canadian recovered from two broken wrists and a missed pre-season to manage sixth place at the season opener in Bahrain.
However, since recording a fourth-place finish in Australia, Stroll has only accrued 17 points in the last six rounds to leave him 80 points adrift of team-mate Fernando Alonso, who has also registered six podium finishes.
Stroll, meanwhile, is still awaiting a first top-three finish in 2023 but believes slim margins in qualifying have been behind his current lacklustre run of results.
“It is details, and it is circumstances, like in Miami trying to get out of Q1 on one set, he [Alonso] did the same as me, he just got through by a tenth and I missed it by a tenth, I’m 17th and he’s going to Q3, same thing in Monaco, we had floor damage, you can’t recover, you start 12th/13th, where we started, and that cost us the weekend,” he explained.
“Canada was a very tricky session, but when I look at the other weekends it’s been small details.
“Things to work on, but he’s still been quicker, for sure, so I’m definitely, you know, focused on the things I’ve got to work on, and this weekend is another opportunity to do that.”
As for the reasons for his troubles, Stroll believes that a “combination of things” is attributable to the contrast in results he’s achieved compared to Alonso in the AMR23.
But the 24-year-old is refusing to use those issues – including his absence from testing – as an excuse and admits he needs to up his game to start matching the Spaniard.
“There’s things from the car you’re always looking for, things from me, yeah, I missed a tremendous amount of testing at the beginning of the season, that’s always a big thing, but like, in all honesty, Fernando’s been at a really really high level and even when I felt like some of my best days were really good days he’s been that little bit quicker and at a really high level,” he conceded.
“I think there’s been reasons why it hasn’t been good, but in terms of outright pace, he’s been more on top of it than me, he’s been quicker, he’s been driving incredibly well, you know, I don’t think I’ve, or we’ve as a team, gotten the most out of our weekends, so don’t think it’s shown, some of the true results, there’s definitely some work to do, some things to improve.
“Fernando’s at a very high level and I’ve got to, you know, definitely work on a few things and get better.”
Looking ahead to this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, Stroll is aiming to string together a more consistent weekend to avoid the need to mount a comeback in the race.
However, the ex-Williams driver says he has taken encouragement from the battling drive that saw him advance from 16th on the grid to score two points at his home grand prix.
“Yeah I mean, it was a tough Saturday for sure, some things went wrong, we made a few mistakes, but came back on Sunday, and it wasn’t easy, as we weren’t very lucky with the Safety Car, we missed it by a lap, but still managed to come through with good pace and pick up a couple of points,” he summarised.
“And when you look at the end of the season every point matters. It was good to see the car had good pace again, as it’s had all season.
“I’m looking forward to this weekend, different format, weather might be tricky again, not much time to set-up the car and figure things out, but I think sprint weekends are fun, it’s a challenge for everyone.”