Damon Hill believes that nothing short of defeating Fernando Alonso on a regular basis and becoming Aston Martin’s number one driver will allow Lance Stroll to move on to the next level in F1.
At just 24, Stroll is in his seventh season of Formula 1 racing, having made his debut in 2017 with Williams before joining his father’s Racing Point outfit in 2019.
The young Canadian’s track record in F1 includes three podiums and one pole position. The latter was achieved in qualifying in Turkey in 2020 after a remarkable display on a rain-soaked track.
On race day, held again in treacherous conditions, Stroll held his own at the top of the field for 32 laps before a damaged front wing thwarted his efforts and pushed him down the order to P9 where he finished.
Over the course of his career, the Canadian has shown flashes of brilliance, especially in the wet, and has proven to be one of the best starters and opening lap drivers on the grid, sure signs of a driver with great instincts.
But his performance has stagnated in the past two seasons, although in fairness to Aston’s charger his team did not always supply him with a car worthy of his potential.
This year, his pre-season preparations for 2023 were undermined by a cycling crash and a broken wrist.
Despite the setback, Stroll has performed well in the first three races of the season, qualifying in the top-ten at each race and scoring a P6 in Bahrain and a P4 in Melbourne, having retired in Jeddah due to an engine issue while running among the top-five.
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But Hill believes the Canadian is now at a point in his career where he needs to assert his ambitions. And that means at the very least gaining the upper hand at Aston over his veteran teammate Fernando Alonso.
“It has to be maintained, sustained over time – it’s no good, just a blip, a one-off event,” Hill said of Stroll’s form, speaking on the F1 Nation podcast.
“So, he’d have to make it his ambition this year. He’d have to set his goal as ending Fernando Alonso’s career.
“Now that sounds brutal, but that’s what George Russell is trying to do [against Lewis Hamilton].
“That’s what Nico Hulkenberg is trying to do with Magnussen – you have to establish yourself as the undisputed king, number one in that team.”