Stroll says he couldn’t doubt himself amid F1 mid-season struggles

While the Spaniard logged eight podiums, Stroll’s best result was a fourth in the high-attrition Australian Grand Prix.

However, after struggling to come to terms with the AMR23 for much of the year, Stroll finished the season on a high with solid fifth places in Brazil and Las Vegas.

Stroll says those late-season results were a reflection of him feeling more comfortable with the car as changes made it more to his liking.

“It feels good to do well, for sure,” he said.

“But I knew that if I feel the platform working well underneath me, and I can drive the car freely without kind of dealing and driving around things that inherently bothered me in the car, I’d be at a good level and I’d get the most out of myself.

“And I know that for a few months with changes that were made, there were weekends where I just couldn’t get into that place where I felt free in the car, and I can just drive at my best. Because it just wasn’t behaving the way I wanted.

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“And at this level when you have those issues, when the car is just not behaving how you want inherently, and it doesn’t agree with your driving style, it won’t work.

“And I think in those moments you can’t put the doubt on yourself.

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

“You just have to know that when it’s going to be there and it’s going to behave the way you want, it’s going to go well, and when it’s not there it’s not going to behave the way you want it’s going to be more challenging.

“That’s F1, the drivers are all very high level, you can never be competitive if you’re not comfortable and confident in your car and just driving freely and it’s working. I think that’s my perception of it.”

Stroll’s season was also marked by technical issues which frequently cost him valuable time in practice and sometimes afflicted his races.

“Yeah, it’s been a season with a lot of bad luck, a lot of missed opportunity,” he said. “I don’t like using the words bad luck, but I think missed opportunities.

“But I guess it’s bad luck when I think about the failures and stuff. We had races like Saudi running P4, engine problem, Monaco quali, hitting debris. Damage to the car in Q2 and starting from mid-pack in Monaco, you lose your weekend.

“I think back to places like Suzuka, having a good race, rear wing failure.

“In Zandvoort we missed the pitstop when the rain came down, we stayed out on track, it was a wrong decision. We were in a good place to score big points there. But I think that’s part of the season.”

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23, Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C43, Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23, Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C43, Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23

Reflecting on his misfortunes, he said: “Sometimes it goes your way a lot. And sometimes it doesn’t always go your way.

“And I think as long as you try and just kind of stay present and focus on one weekend at a time, all these things that kind of go wrong can change very quickly the next race, and they all go right.

“And if you’re not totally present and caught up in the past, about everything that did happen, sometimes you miss those opportunities when they can next present themselves. And that’s not good. I think it’s really about being present.

“It’s really about taking it one race at a time. And accepting that it can be a rollercoaster sometimes.

“It’s not always smooth sailing, it’s not always a straight line, I guess that’s racing to an extent.”

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