Aston Martin parries Stroll criticism ahead of key F1 summer races

Mike Krack insists Lance Stroll will enjoy a stronger run of form in the coming weeks after struggling to get close to Aston Martin Formula 1 team-mate Fernando Alonso.

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23

Leading up to the Canadian's home race, his father and team owner Lawrence Stroll aspired to have both cars on the podium but, after a disappointing mixed-weather qualifying, Stroll was eliminated in Q2 and started 16th due to an impeding penalty.

Stroll actually enjoyed one of his stronger 2023 races on Sunday. Despite losing out to an unfortunately timed early safety car, he came through the field twice to finish ninth in Montreal, which was nevertheless overshadowed by Alonso's sixth podium in eight races.

Stroll's season start was derailed by wrist injuries sustained in a cycling accident on the eve of Bahrain's winter test, which he said resulted in it taking him until last month's Monaco Grand Prix to truly feel comfortable in the AMR23.

Getting the 24-year-old further up to speed will now be a priority for Aston Martin as it has been fighting Mercedes and Ferrari with one hand tied to its back, with Alonso responsible for 117 of the team's 154 points to date.

When asked by Autosport if there were concerns about why Stroll is not delivering, Aston Martin team principal Krack defended his driver's performance in the race.

"[In qualifying] he struggled with grip and if you struggle like that and you don't have the confidence, then it is very difficult," Krack said.

"And [in the race], I think he drove really well. We took him out of traffic and when he was out of traffic, he managed the lap times of the frontrunners on the hard.

"But if you are in this DRS train, it's really hard to come from 16 to nine, I think it's a great achievement.

"Now on paper it looks only ninth and your team-mate finishes second, and you think it's not a good performance. But, when you see where you come from, I think he was very good."

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team and Lance Stroll, Aston Martin F1 Team

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team and Lance Stroll, Aston Martin F1 Team

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Krack did admit Stroll's qualifying results need to improve given how crucial track position has been in 2023.

He believes the next few races before the summer shutdown will suit the 24-year-old, giving the team confidence that it can get both cars in the mix at the front as its owner desires.

"[Qualifying] is key for everybody. You've seen other cars, also quick cars like Sergio [Perez], it's hard to come back to the front," Krack added.

"I think he will take the positives from here and with the races to come.

"We know he's very strong in high-speed circuits and we will have a couple of such circuits to come, so I'm confident that we can score with both [cars]."

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