Monday, June 24, 2024

Lance Stroll: “It’s always special for me to see all the Canadian support”

Lance Stroll is “really excited” for his home Grand Prix this weekend, as the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship moves on to Canada.

This weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix is a big one for Stroll, given that he genuinely has a car which, on paper, could challenge for the podium places. Stroll has come under scrutiny already this season for not being quick enough; however, a first podium of the season at home would silence a lot of doubters. He enters his home GP having finished sixth at the Spanish Grand Prix, and ahead of his team-mate for the first-time this season.

Stroll knows that the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team will likely be in battle with multiple teams this weekend, although, upgrades for the Silverstone-based team in Canada could give them the edge. The Canadian has his eyes set on “pushing hard” for his fans in Montreal, with it being the best place to claim his highest finish of the year.

“I am really excited to return to Montréal for my home race; it’s always special for me to see all the Canadian support at the city I grew up in. It is a circuit that also holds some good memories for me; climbing seven places to finish in the points last year was especially memorable.

“With how close the pecking order has been in recent races, it will be interesting to see what the characteristics of the circuit do to the competitiveness up and down the pitlane this weekend. The margins will be very tight, so we’ll be pushing hard to put on a good show for my home crowd.”

“We will be keeping one eye on the radar” – Fernando Alonso

Whilst Stroll has his eyes on a strong result, Fernando Alonso has his eyes on the sky at the Circuit de Gilles-Villeneuve, where rain is forecast throughout the weekend.

The two-time World Champion heads to Montreal having finished seventh at his home race, marking his worst result of the season. Aston Martin seemingly just struggled for outright pace, arguably for the first-time this season. Reflecting on the recent round, Alonso admits that he “didn’t quite have the pace” to challenge the frontrunners, or claim a sixth podium of the season in front of his fans.

“We had a busy double header with Monaco and Spain and came away with 32 points as a team. The atmosphere in Spain was phenomenal, but we had a difficult Saturday and didn’t quite have the pace on Sunday to put a show on for the fans.”

Alonso’s focus is very much now on the weekend ahead, at a venue he’s only claimed victory at once in 2006. Despite that win coming seventeen years ago, Alonso has “fond memories” of the Canadian circuit from as recently as last season. He started on the front row at last year’s Canadian GP following a wet qualifying, something which could be on the cards on Saturday.

The Spaniard is hopeful that he can return to the podium places this weekend and has assured that with the forecast being questionable, the team are “prepared for anything”.

“Next up is Montréal, which is a historic circuit in Formula One and I have fond memories racing here. Last year, for example, I started second on the grid after a chaotic and wet qualifying session. It might rain again this weekend, so we will be keeping one eye on the radar.

“The circuit is fun and while overtaking can be difficult it can also throw up surprising races, so we will be prepared for anything. We have some upgrades this weekend and our aim is to have a smooth weekend and score the most points possible.”

Credit: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team