“No way!” Rosberg dismisses Stroll

Lance Stroll has been “in the spotlight” for weeks, as his team boss Mike Krack describes it – and his appearance so far at the Qatar Grand Prix has done little to silence the many critics. Quite the opposite: with a behavioral lapse after qualifying on Friday, the 24-year-old literally provoked further negative headlines.

Q1 had just taken place, Fernando Alonso had taken third place in the Aston Martin, and Stroll had retired in 17th place, 1.122 seconds behind his teammate. Without fuss. No wonder his mood wasn’t good. But when he got out of the car in the pits, the Canadian’s situation escalated.

Sky expert Nico Rosberg describes: “He threw away the steering wheel. A steering wheel like that costs 25,000 euros. He scratched the paint on the car because it flew on it. He then cleared away his physio and pushed it away. That doesn’t work at all !”

In particular, the scene at the back of the box, which was captured by TV cameras and shows Stroll roughly pushing his physiotherapist aside, was hotly discussed on social media. “I hope he apologized to everyone,” says Rosberg. “But I don’t think he seems to have.”

Formula 1: What Aston Martin says about the freakout

Within the team, the situation is viewed much less critically: “You also see one or two soccer players who throw a jersey or throw down the bottle or don’t clap at the coach when he is substituted. I think sport thrives on emotions like that,” puts Mike Krack into perspective and adds: “There is no problem in the team. We have spoken. Everything is fine.”

Because there were no traditional media rounds on the Friday after qualifying, Saturday evening was the first opportunity for journalists to confront Stroll with the incident in the Aston Martin pits. But as soon as the first question on the topic was asked by a journalist from the Motorsport Network, Aston Martin’s PR staff tried to shut down the topic.

But Stroll didn’t let that happen: “It’s okay. Go on. Do you have another question?” he faced the conversation that the team actually wanted to protect him from. So question: “If I push my colleague, I’ll be in trouble. How about you?” Stroll answers patiently: “Everything is good between us. He’s a bro. We go through frustration together sometimes. Everything’s cool.”

His mood was anything but good after the F1 sprint. What’s not surprising is that after the abrasion in the sprint shootout, things didn’t go any better in the 19-lap race either. Stroll was ranked 15th and last and received a five-second penalty for violating track limits. This only ever happened to Ferrari star Charles Leclerc.

After the F1 sprint: Stroll verbatim

Stroll remained brief in the media interview:

Ask:“Is the air between you and your trainer clear again? Were you surprised by the reactions on social media?”

Stroll:“I don’t look at social media. I drive the car.”

Ask:“Were you frustrated by the bad session?”

Stroll:“Yes. Frustrated.”

Ask:“What was worse this time than usual that you reacted so emotionally?”

Stroll:“We’re not having a good run and it’s not getting better. The frustration is spreading throughout the group. We want to get better, but it’s difficult at the moment.”

Ask:“Do you still enjoy Formula 1?”

Stroll:“Yeah, sure. I just don’t get along well with the car and the balance. I can’t manage to extract the performance. That’s difficult. Frustrating.”

Ask:“What was the problem on Friday?”

Stroll:“A lot of understeer, snapping oversteer, too little grip. I don’t feel like I can rely on the car because it keeps breaking out and understeering. I just don’t like that balance when driving.”

Ask:“When was the last time you felt good in the car?”


Ask:“How is Fernando doing with these limitations?”

Stroll:“He has a special driving style. He drives through the corners differently than I do. At the beginning of the year, the car’s window was larger for different driving styles. Now the window is restricted and I don’t like that. He can get around it. He doesn’t care that much like me.”

Ask:“How are you going to do that? This year or next year?”

Stroll:“Probably both. We’re trying to work on the set-up and do what we can to change the car to make it more comfortable to drive. But it’s also about bigger changes and the characteristics that need to change. We have changed the car a lot this year, and with it the characteristics have also changed a lot. In doing so, we have moved away from what I liked more at the beginning of the year.”

Ask:“How do you deal with these disappointments?”

Stroll:“I fucking hate having a bad day. And that’s not going to change.”

Numbers speak for themselves

So you could somehow interpret Stroll’s freak out on Friday in a positive way: someone who doesn’t care about Formula 1, as some critics assume he does, wouldn’t be so angry about a botched qualifying that he even pushes one of his closest confidants away .

But Stroll’s performances are increasingly falling behind those of Alonso. The numbers have been mentioned many times: 47:175 points, 1:15 in the race and 2:15 in the qualifying duel. Alonso was also faster than Stroll in all three 2023 Sprint Shootouts. In Qatar, when it mattered most, the difference was one second.

Too much, many critics think. Nico Rosberg rubs salt into the open wounds: “If it wasn’t the son of the father who owns the team, then he wouldn’t be there next year with this performance.”

“It’s a difficult situation because the father owns the team and you have to remember: in theory he can drive the car. At the beginning of the year it’s acceptable to be a number 2, not too far away from Fernando . That’s actually okay. That’s why I don’t understand what happened.”

Rosberg is looking for an explanation: “It’s often a mental spiral. Something goes wrong once, then again. Then you start to suffer. You’re no longer having fun, you’re just afraid that you’ll fail again. You bet You get into the car and these thoughts go with you. You’re just afraid: ‘I can’t do it anymore, I’ll get beaten up again!’ That really gets you down.”

No criticism from your own team

After all, Stroll has a big advantage: While other drivers who lag behind so much compared to their teammates are often criticized by their own team, Aston Martin stands behind him 100 percent. Despite the multitude of errors and breakdowns, team boss Mike Krack hasn’t said a single critical word in public.

Not even in Qatar. Krack defends Stroll: “We have nine tenths between Hamilton and Russell, and we also have nine tenths between Hülkenberg and Magnussen,” he waves. “Lance is a bit in the spotlight at the moment when it comes to this issue. But we’ll get out of it. That’s not a problem.”

“It’s half a tenth there, a little bit here, a few hundredths there. It adds up. It’s difficult for him to find his way out. I don’t want to say that there’s anything wrong with the car in general, but it’s just that self-confidence “That’s what you need as a driver. The best thing would be a sense of achievement. Then he’ll get out of it. But we just have to find that,” says Krack.