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Formula 1 Belgian GP

Stroll made "aggressive" return from pre-season injury having seen Aston's F1 step

Lance Stroll has revealed that understanding Aston Martin possessed a much-improved Formula 1 car for 2023 led him to make a “very aggressive” early return to action from pre-season injury.

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin F1 Team

Stroll missed pre-season testing in Bahrain after breaking both his wrists and a toe in a crash while cycling in Spain three days before that event was due to start.

But just one week later he returned for the season-opener in Bahrain in a car team-mate Fernando Alonso has taken to six podiums so far after the team’s major performance turnaround from finishing seventh in last year’s constructors’ championship.

It is understood that Stroll was fully healed from his injuries by late May’s Monaco Grand Prix after his initial prognosis suggested he would not be able to drive at all in F1 until round three in Australia in April.

When asked by Autosport to describe how his recovery from his injuries had gone over the first half of the 2023 campaign, Stroll replied: “Well, I mean driving Formula 1 cars like 12 days after breaking my bones was not what my doctors would’ve liked me to do, but, I did it anyway.

“I’m being sarcastic,” he continued, “I mean it was a very aggressive return, but I knew we had a good car and I wanted to get back in the car and I felt like I was ready to do it.

“It sucked for the first few races – definitely I was in a lot of pain, but I’m feeling much better now.”

Stroll has so far failed to match Alonso’s race record in 2023, finishing ahead of him just once and without troubling the podium places at any event.

Aston team principal Mike Krack recently told Autosport his belief that the main reason for this difference between his drivers was down to Stroll missing all of winter testing.

“We should always keep in mind now that there was a three-day test in Bahrain where he did zero laps,” said Krack. “[He] jumped in the car in the first race with the injuries – this is very often forgotten.

“Where other drivers fill their toolboxes, learn about the car – these are things that he didn’t have.”

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Stroll, who was speaking in the pre-event press conference at the Belgian GP, also said Aston’s recent downturn in form – which followed the team making the wrong choice on its car development path – had left it “not where we want to be”.

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He continued: “We started the season very strong [with the] second/third fastest car in some races, depending on the track.

“But the last few weekends have been more challenging for us, so we definitely have a few things to work on to get back to where we want to be.

“Going around the corners faster and down the straights faster – that always helps!

“No, I mean it’s just a lot of little details. Just the usual stuff – working around some of the limitations of the car.

"Balance through the corner and finding some more downforce and all that kind of stuff.

“But, I think we have some ideas [of how to improve things], so I’m looking forward to the second half of the season.”

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