Fernando Alonso, Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, 2023

Stroll reaches 100 qualifying defeats in 136 starts at hands of latest team mate

2023 F1 team mates head-to-head

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The 2023 Formula 1 season was Lance Stroll’s seventh in the series. In that time his one-lap pace has been a clear weakness, whoever his team mate has been.

Fernando Alonso joined him at the start of the year as the fifth different full-time occupant of the seat alongside Stroll. He inflicted one of Stroll’s hardest qualifying defeats yet. In the process, at the United States Grand Prix, Stroll reached the unhappy landmark of 100 qualifying defeats to his assorted team mates in his 136th start.

Alonso followed Sebastian Vettel, Sergio Perez, Sergey Sirotkin and Felipe Massa in winning the qualifying contest against Stroll over a season. Nico Hulkenberg also qualified ahead of Stroll on two of his four appearances as a substitute alongside him. Only Paul di Resta, who made a single appearance alongside Stroll at the Hungaroring in 2017, drafted in as a substitute after Friday practice, didn’t manage to out-qualify him.

Stroll’s combined qualifying score against his team mates stands at 103-37 after 140 representative contests. That contrasts with the likes of Esteban Ocon, who has made a similar number of starts against two of the same drivers as Stroll, and is trailing 75-65. While Stroll lost 19-3 to Alonso this year, Ocon’s score against him over the previous two seasons at Alpine was a much closer 23-20 in Alonso’s favour.

The upshot of Stroll’s shortfall in one-lap pace is, of course, that he starts lower on the grid. That has been exacerbated this year by the tightness of the midfield, which Aston Martin fell deeper into as the season progressed. On average Alonso started sixth, Stroll 14th. The latter does at least have a reputation for making strong starts, Las Vegas this year being a case in point, but that is also a feature of starting too far down the grid in a car his team mates consistently demonstrate belongs closer to the front.

Starting further down the grid inevitably makes it harder to score points. “Stroll’s points shortfall could leave Aston Martin fifth instead of second this year,” noted RaceFans’ mid-season assessment of the Aston Martin pairing, and that is exactly what transpired. Alonso even hinted at it himself once the season was done, pointing out that with the fifth-highest scoring car their drivers mathematically belong ninth and 10th in the standings. Instead Alonso was fourth, Stroll 10th, having contributed little more than one-quarter of the team’s points tally. Beating Mercedes and Ferrari might have been a stretch for this team, but no doubt McLaren should not have overcome them.

Of his seven years in F1 to date, this was Stroll’s fifth in a team owned by his father. During that time there has not been a clearer example of his shortfall in performance costing the team a higher position in the championship and the income which accompanies it. At what point does that start to become a concern for Aston Martin?

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Stroll Q

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Unrepresentative comparisons omitted. Negative value: Stroll was faster; Positive value: Alonso was faster

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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28 comments on “Stroll reaches 100 qualifying defeats in 136 starts at hands of latest team mate”

  1. He’s just a young rookie going against one of the best drivers in the world, it’s only natural he got destroyed. Next year will be Stroll’s year, I’m sure of it.

    1. A rookie like Piastri, Russel, Albon, Norris after 7 years . . . .?

    2. Comment of the year, consecutively.

    3. I like what you did there :)

  2. Not bad for a paydriver.

    1. Actually the team pays him salary, not the other way round. That’s the most tragic little detail. At least most of it comes from his father’s own pocket anyway, but he’s not the only shareholder.

      1. Like washing your dad’s car for pocket money…

  3. If Stroll had even half of Alonso s points they would have been 4th. he’s costing them a lot already and if they don’t understand by now that they should move on from him to climb higher on the grid they never will. Either 2024 is Lance’s final f1 season or Aston Martin is not a serious team. there can be no middle ground.

  4. Sergey Sirotkin!

    1. My thoughts exactly. Guy needs to come back considering he beat Stroll who is one of F1’s best drivers.

  5. The better the team and car will become, as well as his rivals, the more obvious Strolls shortcomings will be. And than the pressure will ramp, just like it already did this year. My guess is he’ll be out at the end of 2024.

    1. My guess is that he won’t start the ’24 season.

  6. But it’s just bad luck, right? All these years against all these different teammates, he’s just been really unlucky. /s

  7. Good lad Lance – keep setting those records dude!

  8. I’ve already predicted Lance will be out 2024.
    In 2023, when you look at his face on TV, he seems like he is not enjoying it like VER, RIC or the others. It is time he breaks away from his father and live his own life. Maybe he’ll come back to racing on his own terms?

    1. The photo for the article of him smiling is a rarity these days. He’s not daft, he knows the environment he’s in and what comes from his dad. He wont listen to Mike Krack’s words of confidence and take them as anything other than what is expected of all Aston employees.

      You’d need to be a very special type of person not to find that a drag after a while. Turning up to work knowing how people feel. Seven seasons in F1 is longer than most, and he’s certainly had some highlights in that time. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he decided to go do something else with his life, its not like he’ll be short on options.

      He seems a nice enough guy (pushing engineers aside), and he’s not terrible by any stretch, but Ferrari or McLaren or anybody else aren’t exactly monitoring his availability. If he’s not enjoying it, I can see plenty of reasons why.

      I’m sure some investors wouldn’t mind. It’s kinda difficult for Aston fighting with one arm, we don’t necessarily know if Fernando gets 100% out of the car every weekend. If he qualifies 8th we just assume thats as good as the car will do. Where as a team like McLaren can have Oscar or Lando in 8th and see the other car in 4th from one weekend to the next. Aston don’t have a yardstick as such to put Fernando’s achievements in context.

      1. @bernasaurus said

        pushing engineers aside


        I think he pushed him forwards, actually. :p

    2. Evil tongues said Stroll wanted to retire completely healthy car on 3 occasions this year and those rumors of him quitting the sport weren’t exactly off the mark. To boost his confidence Aston Martin organized a test session at Hungaroring shared with Drugovich and set it up the way he was faster than his team mate, in “equal” conditions of course.

    3. I started to feel that Lance had finally lost interest about half way through this season.
      At least in the past he seemed to believe in himself (delusional as that was) and tried to perform.
      A lot of times this season though he has genuinely driven and acted like a kid being forced to eat his vegetables.
      Not a happy little boy any more are you Lance.

  9. You’d need to be a very special type of person not to find that a drag after a while. Turning up to work knowing how people feel.

    He knows. He gets the looks. He hears the public statements.

    Now Stroll did decent enough for a midfield team. For all the unfriendly commentary he got, he didn’t do too bad. But he doesn’t cut when he’s up against guys like Norris, Hamilton, Leclerc, Verstappen. That’s where Aston Martin wants to be, and that’s the kind of drivers they’ll have to start hiring. Stroll is a good race car driver, but not that good. There’s no shame in accepting your limits.

  10. Electroball76
    4th December 2023, 22:44

    “Oh wow! So it actually has 8 gears? That’s amazing!”

  11. On the bright side, at least it’s building a solid case against nepotism.

  12. He’s not too bad of driver. The article fails to mention the phase when the car was difficult to drive. Stroll’s shortcoming really came to the fore during that little mid-season period, but overall he’s got good pace once the car is balanced and he’s quite handy in the wet.

  13. I kinda like Lance.

    If I can play devils advocate here and defend him a bit.

    He started with season with wrists that were held together with screws and brackets, that must have hurt way more than he’s letting on. Because of this he missed winter testing.

    So the first time he was driving the car, he was in pain and his team mate had already had all those extra testing miles to get the car to his liking. It would be fair to say his driving might not even have been up to his own standards for the first half of the season. So whenever his wrists were feeling better and he was able to drive to his 100% (let’s guess around the half way mark) his team mate had been driving at 100% for half the season already + winter testing. This gave Alonso a huge advantage when it comes to knowledge of the car and Lance was only really able to get it together with working wrists by the end of the year.

    Lance’s results are much better at the tail end of the season.

    It’s only a theory, but I think the gap between Stroll and Alonso was exaggerated by circumstance.

    1. But as the article points out, he hasn’t been much better in previous years. He consistently underperforms compared to all of his previous teammates in Quali. Taking away this year he’s still losing 84-34 against everyone else he’s teamed up with over the years, including two fill-in drivers. That’s not even 2:1. He’s just….. not very good compared to the rest of the field.

  14. Amazing how many people are defending Lance here. I get it – I used to too. He seems like a pretty nice guy, generally, except when his frustrations boil over. So you kind of feel sorry for him and want him to do well. But as TylerS (above) and the article points out, he’s been abysmal for almost all his F1 career. That magic on a wet day in Brazil back when – that gave me hope – but nothing has ever come of it. Nice guy, and sure, can drive a car okayish, but no way should he be taking up a seat in F1. I do hope he has the strength and humility to see how things are and take his massive drive somewhere where he can show his real potential. That’s not in F1 – not driving, at least. That’s been proven again and again.

  15. What’s even worse is Krack, Alonso, the team, and Papa Stroll still talking Lance up and trying to create this alternative reality where he’s really fast and a huge help to the team.
    It’s like watching the Chump acolytes, or the people too scared to tell the Emperor he has no clothes on …

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