2022 AM Wings_Mono Negative

UNDERCUT | Lance Stroll: "It's not easy to win in F1, but I'll give it everything"

Winning a first Grand Prix for Aston Martin, getting creative in the rain, and why his injury comeback is one of his greatest life achievements. Canadian racer Lance Stroll pulls back the curtain in our latest UNDERCUT interview – and reveals why every driver should be wearing sliders with their race suit.

Lance UNDERCUT hero portrait

"Jump on the couch, munch some popcorn, and tune in. It's going to be a lot of fun."

Lance Stroll could just as easily be talking about the upcoming Formula One season – his eighth competing in the series, despite still only being 25 years old – as he could about his starring role in the first episode of season six of the forever binge-worthy Netflix docuseries Drive to Survive.

Speaking with the mercurial talent the day before he debuted the AMR24 at Silverstone Circuit, he cut a relaxed figure when recounting his exploits on the snow-kissed slopes of his Canadian homeland while acknowledging that the winter break has given him a chance to reflect on how he can be a better driver. He's trained harder, become mentally stronger, and is hyper-focused on the season ahead…

Lance, you came into the winter break off the back of an intense season and are about to embark on the longest F1 season in history. How are you feeling? We've seen you cross-country snowboarding back home in Canada.

Yeah, for a couple of weeks every winter, that's my way of escaping from the world. It's important to disconnect and then come back ready and recharged for the season.

The F1 season is so long and intense now. The winter break is a chance to reset. It's a chance to think about how you can be a better driver physically and mentally – it's a good time to reflect.

I've stayed really fit during the winter – I always try to up my training – and have spent time working on myself. It's exciting to be back.

Are we going to see Lance Stroll 2.0 off the back of this winter?

I wouldn't go as far as saying Lance Stroll 2.0, but the winter is always a good time to think about how you can be a better racing driver, approach race weekends in a better way, and improve on your strengths and weaknesses.

Lance UNDERCUT quote 1 image
It was a pretty insane mission to get to the first race after everything that happened. I have thought about it and learnt some lessons.
Lance Stroll

Team Principal Mike Krack said that he wished last season would have been a bit longer because you were really fast in the final rounds. How do you pick up where you left off?

We finished off the season strong. It was fun to have those last few races, really kicking butt – having some good results in Brazil and Vegas. I've trained hard and prepared well. I'm ready for the season to start in Bahrain.

And, hopefully, you'll have a smoother run to the first race than last season.

Yes! The plan is to go into the season in one piece.

Two broken wrists, a broken toe and a partially fractured hand. Have you had a chance to process what you achieved last year – the rapid comeback from injury and strong performance despite the pain you were going through?

It was a pretty insane mission to get to the first race after everything that happened. I did think about it and learnt some lessons. It's one of the biggest things I've achieved in my life: to face that adversity going into a season where everything was all lined up with the car performing great through testing – but I was in the hospital. It was far from ideal, but we figured it out and made it back.

How did you get through it, Lance?

It was a very eventful weekend for everyone in the team: mechanics pulling me out of the car, dragging me on my butt across the garage; my physio loading me up in the debriefs with ice bags and all kinds of things. Carrying that injury throughout the first part of the season was not ideal, but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

It was a great story in the end, but I don't need to do that again. I did it once and I'm happy to go to testing in one piece this year and have a smooth season.

In the class of '23 photo taken in Bahrain, all the drivers are wearing their race boots and then there's you in your sliders because you couldn't put your boots on due to your injuries.

I was thinking about that, and you know what, I might do that again this year because sliders and race suits are a good look.

They were BOSS sliders too…

Yeah, exactly! It's a good look: BOSS sliders and a race suit.

Lance sliders

Apart from wearing your sliders at every available opportunity, what are your targets this season?

We want to build on last year. We had a very strong car last year – but not everywhere. It was very strong at certain tracks and then at other tracks, we faced some challenges. We want to perform consistently well this year.

Last year, we came out really strong for the first five, six, seven races and then other teams caught up. We came back strong at the end, but we weren't as strong throughout the season as we were at the beginning, so we want to consistently fight for good points, podiums, and a first win in green.

Have you dared to dream what it would be like to be the first driver to win a Grand Prix for Aston Martin?

Yeah, I've come close a couple of times over the years, although not so much since we've been Aston Martin. I was leading for a while at the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix and we had some moments in Monza that year, where maybe we could have made it happen. It's not easy winning in Formula One, but I'll give it everything, and maybe this year...

How would you feel if Fernando got that win first, though?

I'd be happy for the team whoever wins but obviously, I would want it to be me. It's more fun standing on the top of the podium yourself!

In an UNDERCUT interview last year, Fernando said that you have the "possibility to be World Champion." How do you respond to that when it comes from someone who knows what it takes to win the World Championship?

I hope he's right!

Lance UNDERCUT rain
When it was coming down with rain, people would pack up their stuff and go home but my mechanic would fill my go-kart up with gas and just say, 'Come back when you're out of gas.'
Lance Stroll

You dominated the junior categories on your rise up the single-seater ranks. What's your advice to the younger members of our driver squad, Felipe Drugovich, Jak Crawford, and Tina Hausmann, who are aiming to follow in your footsteps and race in F1

Push – push like crazy. You have to constantly give it your all. That's all I thought of throughout all the different categories, going through all the steps – just push the machine to the limit.

You mention pushing to the limit. You're renowned for your wet-weather driving skills and strong starts. Why are you so good in those conditions?

I've always loved the wet. Even growing up, when I was karting, I remember doing laps in the wet. On practice days, when it was coming down with rain, people would pack up their stuff and go home but my mechanic would fill my go-kart up with gas and just say, 'Come back when you're out of gas.' I guess a lot of that early rain driving benefited me and it remains a strength of mine to this day. And first laps, yeah, I just… I just get excited when the lights go out. It's always fun how it's unexpected every time, you've got to pick your place on track and manoeuvre your way around traffic.

Lance UNDERCUT with Lawrence
I've had an incredible journey with my father. From go-karting, through the junior formulas and today in Formula One, what we've accomplished together has been amazing.
Lance Stroll

How much of what you do behind the wheel in those moments is based on instinct?

It's all instinct. Every start is different. Every race is different. You can't really predict what's going to happen, conditions are always changing. You're calculated, though.

It's calculated risk, right? That's what first laps are all about and even the wet driving – a lot of the fun in driving in the wet is that it's very unpredictable and it's very different. In the dry, there's one racing line and everyone follows that but in the wet, you have puddles and then you have areas where there's lots of rubber bedded into the track so you've got to try to navigate your way around the rubber to find the grip. I've always enjoyed that element of creativity in wet driving where you've got to go out and find grip in weird places and it's kind of unexpected.

Your father, Lawrence Stroll, has been a driving force in your career. How do you reflect on what you have achieved together, and does it frustrate you when people question whether you deserve your seat in F1?

Everyone has their opinion, but I do my talking on the track.

I've had an incredible journey with my father in motorsport. From go-karting days, through the junior formulas and today in Formula One, what we've accomplished together has been amazing. His vision and passion for the sport, for Aston Martin, is really incredible; it's super exciting to be a part of it and to see how much we've already grown as a team over the last four years. And the future is even more exciting.

You. Us. Together.

I / AM membership

The ultimate fan experience.

Get closer to the team with unparalleled access, behind-the-scenes insights and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and enjoy exclusive competitions, rewards, offers and more.

I / AM banner