Aston Martin: Fernando Alonso lauds ‘very smart’ Lance Stroll for not ‘targeting’ him like his former team-mate | F1 News

Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll have developed a strong relationship during Aston Martin’s strong start to the season; watch more of Alonso’s interview with Martin Brundle during Sky Sports F1’s live Miami GP coverage from 19:00 on Sunday

12:18 p.m., UK, Sunday 07 May 2023

Fernando Alonso says his strong relationship with Lance Stroll hinges on his Aston Martin teammate being “very smart” and not eyeing him, unlike previous Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon.

Aston Martin’s stunning rise to contention in front of the grid has been one of the storylines of the 2023 season so far, with Alonso claiming podiums in each of his first three races with the team, and having qualified second for Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix.

Along with their speed, which keeps them neck and neck with Mercedes and Ferrari behind the dominant Red Bull, the friendship between the Aston Martin drivers has provided an added boost and a fun story.

“We have this objective in the team we are talking about,” said Alonso Sky Sports F1 Martin Brundel. “I remember the day before the February car launch at the factory.

Despite finishing second, Alonso is not optimistic he will be able to hold off Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who started ninth, at the Miami GP.

“What are the goals for the team with (team principal) Mike Krack and (executive chairman) Martin Whitmarsh? I think we all agree that we need to play a game like this – you know if you want to be opponents, we are up against a very big team, Ferrari, Mercedes and our strength is scoring points with both cars.”

Alonso, 41, who is the oldest driver on the grid, has been strongly supportive of Stroll, describing the 24-year-old as a “hero” after he finished 6th in the campaign’s opening race in Bahrain despite struggling with injury. suffered in a pre-season cycling accident.

The good vibes between the two have continued since then, with Stroll assuring the team over the radio in the early stages of last weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix that he would not try to attack Alonso, who was right in front of him on track and try to do so. save the tires for later races.

Onboard footage from Bahrain shows how Lance Stroll had trouble turning the steering wheel while recovering from a wrist injury.

Later in the race, Alonso is heard sending technical advice to his younger teammate, before insisting that Stroll is the future of the team after the race.

Explaining why he was so eager to try to help Stroll, Alonso drew comparisons to his relationship with Ocon, with whom he often clashed as they spent the past two seasons together in Alpine.

“Yes, I try to help Lance but we can’t forget that he is also very smart,” said Alonso.

Alonso and Esteban Ocon clashed last season during their time as Alpine teammates

“And he is a rider that I think of as a team-mate, as we saw in Baku, we were talking about possibly saving tires, we didn’t know exactly in the sprint format, how long the tires would last… we were saving tires and he said, ‘I won’t attack Fernando.’

“Last year I was probably the other way around. It’s always, you know, my team-mates, like the first target is me. So it definitely doesn’t work in the team’s favour. So, I think Lance plays a role in this relationship as well.”

‘Walking will lead Aston for 10-15 years’ | Lawrence’s leadership was contagious

Alonso reiterated statements he made last weekend in Baku that he thinks Stroll will lead the team for “the next 10 or 15 years,” and that he wants to “help Lance as much as I can while I’m driving.”

Despite losing out on qualifying and finishing ahead of Stroll in each of their four races as team-mates, Alonso is adamant the Canadian has what it takes to lead the team in the future.

“Right now maybe I’m more ready to fight for the championship because I’m already in this position and fighting with the top and leading cars,” said Alonso.

Alonso dug into Alpine’s previous company over the team radio during Miami GP practice.

“But like I said, you know I’ll be driving for a few more years, not much and I think Lance will be driving for a lot more.

“If I can help, I will be happy.”

Alonso also enjoys a strong relationship with another Stroll, Lance’s father Lawrence, who owns the team and has made significant investments driving them forward on the grid.

Many have questioned whether the two strong characters will be able to maintain a good relationship, and while it is still early days, Alonso says he appreciates Stroll’s hands-on leadership style.

He said: “I think we knew each other for now, for 12 years, when Lance was a kid in karting and yeah, I think I liked him.

“I like the way it is, you know, it has no boundaries. I think Lawrence has a leadership[style]that I think is quite contagious and everyone on the team believes what he thinks.

“With a Formula One team you need to have a boss like this, and one voice that sets the direction and I like this team and also my role in the team, I’m aware of my role, fine and I accept it.”

The Formula 1 season continues with Miami GP – watch Sunday’s race live on Sky Sports F1 from 7pm, lights out at 8.30pm. Get Sky Sports

Hadwin Floyd

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