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Aston Martin not focused on McLaren in F1 Abu Dhabi finale

Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack insisted that the Silverstone outfit won’t be focused on its battle with McLaren at the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60, Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60, Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23

Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Aston was in front of the Woking outfit for most of the season until McLaren moved into fourth place in the constructors' world championship after the United States GP.

Following fifth place for Lance Stroll and eighth place after a first-lap spin for Fernando Alonso in Las Vegas, Aston has narrowed the gap to 11 points, with just the season finale at Yas Island to come.

Asked if the team will focus its strategy on beating McLaren, Krack said it simply has to get the best results it can.

“For me, it doesn't change anything, compared to two or three races ago,” he said. “We can only influence what we do ourselves.

“The first bit is we have to have a fast car in Abu Dhabi, because we are behind. So it's something that we are not on the defence, we have to go flat out, and then we see. We have to do the best possible, and then we see what is the result.”

Krack downplayed the suggestion the team has now found its way again having seemingly been lost when it was experimenting with different aero packages.

“We were not lost before,” he said. “I think it will be maybe arrogant to say we are on top of everything. I said it many times, the cars are very complex. I think there is a lot to learn still for us. So I will not say that we are on top of everything. But we have learned a lot this year.”

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23

Aston’s challenge for fourth place has been helped by Stroll’s strong recent form, the Canadian having secured fifth place at both Interlagos and Las Vegas.

He charged from a penalised 19th on the grid in the latter, after he avoided the first-corner chaos and gained 10 places on the first lap.

“It was a good race, but it was also a good race two weeks ago [in Brazil],” said Krack when asked by Autosport/Motorsport.com about Stroll’s Las Vegas performance.

“I think the key today was to have a good understanding of the tyres, and the strategy. It was always the plan to do something like what we did there.

“There was a little bit of luck involved in the beginning to make a lot of positions. When you look at who had how many hards left and who didn't, with the exception of Esteban [Ocon], everybody who did not have two [sets] went out of the points.”

Krack said Stroll is regaining his confidence after a recent run of frustration that has seen him hampered by a series of technical problems and incidents.

“What happens is he's beginning to get confidence, the results are coming, and then you get more confident,” said Krack. “He was out in Q2 yesterday, but it was not a drama, because he builds this confidence. These are things that you cannot measure, really.

“It's nice to see that he managed the tyres really well today, and then could pass some people. So, I think, all in all, when you put all this together, then the results come.”

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23, spins and collides with Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C43, as Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, takes evasive action

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23, spins and collides with Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C43, as Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, takes evasive action

Regarding Alonso’s first-lap incident he noted: “He just said he got surprised by the low grip, and turned around, but I don't know if it was oil related or dust.

“It was really, really tricky. I don't know what happened with Lando [Norris] later, but it seemed to me also like something. The tyre pressure was still low. Already the laps to the grid, for all the drivers, I think, were really, really difficult.”

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Krack conceded Aston had struggled in qualifying, with Alonso managing only 10th.

“I think the qualifying yesterday was a little bit of a mystery for many,” he said. “It was all about having the tyres in the right window at the right moment, because we had the track improvement, then you had the cold temperatures, and you had the timing and the traffic to manage.

“So was it better to take a tow? Was it better to have a bit more gap and have all your load? And to have the tyres ready? So I think some got caught out.

"I think the McLaren was much, much faster than the qualifying position was showing, so I think yesterday was not really a true reflection of the pace of the cars.”

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