2024 Australian GP: Why Are We Not Talking About Lance Stroll?

Lance Stroll
Lance Stroll

Perhaps it might not be entirely untrue to regard some facts about the recent and quite exhilarating Formula 1 event at the Melbourne-bound Australian Grand Prix. And first among them is that McLaren truly emerged the class of the field behind Ferrari.

They were fast and unafraid to have a real go at the Scuderia stable that was observed to be rampant and rapid, well until the end.

Yet another important observation, if it must be put that way, is the fact that none other than Yuki Tsunoda had the best race result for him and his outfit this year and remember, it’s only been three Grands Prix so far. After scoring a P14 and P15 at Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, respectively, this was the first point scoring and impressive finish for Yuki.

But the other more telling observation- unfortunately- also one that is hardly being talked about all that much is that the 2024 Australian Grand Prix also showcased Lance Stroll’s craft. Or should one say, his might?

Understated and often, off the highlights or the talking points, Lance Stroll is a driver who has more often than not, copped criticism.

Labelled and at times, rather loosely or one-sidedly as a ‘rich daddy’s son’ (which is technically not his fault), one has so easily undervalued Lance Stroll, the very driver whose father didn’t buy him his podium finishes at events like Monza and Bahrain in the past.

But out here at the Albert Park street circuit, home to the Australian Grand Prix based in Melbourne, Lance Stroll did something that perhaps even the kindest or gentlest of Aston Martin fans may not have imagined at the start.

In the process of garnering a P6 (sixth) in the end, Lance Stroll outperformed his legendary teammate: Fernando Alonso.

Surely, luck didn’t favour Alonso. The titan of the sport with two world championships to his name, treated a challenging corner differently lifting off earlier and hence, braking earlier than expected which didn’t yield an ideal result for another car in close proximity: it belonging to George Russell.

But while Alonso was eventually subjected to a time penalty that meant him sliding down in eighth in the end, Lance Stroll earned a P6.

But you’d be wrong to think that Stroll only performed well during the race. A day earlier at the big qualifying battle at Melbourne, it was Lance Stroll who emerged the faster of the two Aston Martin drivers on Saturday.

In scoring a 1:17:072 in the decisive moments of the qualifying in the Q3 run, Stroll placed his Aston Martin ahead of his massively successful teammate, Alonso.

A P9 wasn’t a terrible result then for a driver who’s so often been belittled. In the process of doing so, lest it is forgotten, Stroll knocked out Hamilton of all drivers (when talking about Q3).

And surely while criticising a great of the sport in Alonso makes no sense especially when the famed Spaniard hasn’t scored a podium up until this point, in stark contrast to the same time last year (where he had already collected three), it wouldn’t be so wise to belittle the Canadian.

Lance Stroll has his weaknesses; but there’s more to him

And here’s the thing about Lance Stroll. Obviously, his inadequacies often get magnified when compared to the mighty driver he’s been paired with. And even if he doesn’t have the faultless consistency that would make him seem so truly gifted, it isn’t that the Montreal-born driver isn’t trying out there.

The 25-year-old with 277 F1 points to his name still has a long way to go. He’s been consistently quicker than other drivers tagged with bigger and glowy adjectives, irrespective of whether you think about Nico Hülkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo or Kevin Magnussen.

So while Stroll has his challenged outlined, the biggest of them all being the ability race hard and score consistently, the world would seem more welcoming if he was encouraged and not cornered with unbecoming narratives.

The 2024 Australian GP must be a result that he’d take with a glee on his face. At the same time, his job from here on should be to build on this result and go better. What would you say?

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