Stroll was “protecting” injured wrist during Bahrain GP practice

Onboard TV footage showed the Aston Martin driver apparently resting his right hand at times and focusing on using his left to push the top of the steering wheel into the tight right-hander at Turn 1.

He was also seen using assistance from his mechanics to get out of the car during second practice. 

Stroll missed last week’s three days of testing in Bahrain while recovering from his injury.

Part of his recovery programme was a stint in the Silverstone team’s simulator – with the power steering dialled down to properly test his fitness – which may also have given him a chance to practice the technique that he deployed in the real car today.

It could be compared with the Monaco hairpin, where drivers traditionally focus on the right hand on the top of the steering wheel, or with the way Robert Kubica had to drive after coming back from his rally accident after injuring his wrist and arm.

Replays of footage from Stroll’s car coincided with a radio conversation that appeared to suggest that he was struggling to turn the steering wheel when his engineer Ben Michell tried to give him coaching about a line that would improve his overall pace through Turns 1 and 2.

Michell told him: “Lance we need to compromise 1, and have a better line for 2. So compromise 1 for 2.”

Stroll replied, “I can’t man, I can’t, with the hands,” to which Michell said, “Yeah, copy that.”

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin F1 Team

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Shortly afterwards, and following a discussion on the pitwall, Michell said: “Lance, Turn 1, if we slow the car more, you should be able to steer the car less. That’s what the other car is doing. So slow the car more, steer less, and prioritise the exit.”

An Aston Martin source suggested there has been a misunderstanding between the pair in the initial conversation and that the team waited until after the session to fully clarify rather than continue the discussion in public.

Asked if he had any doubts about being able to complete a race distance on Sunday because of the wrist, he was adamant that he will be OK.

“No, I just was protecting it,” said the Canadian. “It feels a little more comfortable. So I feel like I can definitely drive the car.

“I’m feeling all right. A little stiff, but it was overall okay in the car today.”

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Apart from any compromises related to his wrist, Stroll had to spend Friday dialling himself into the track and getting to understand the AMR23 after missing the test, in which his team-mate Fernando Alonso completed 270 laps, more than he would have done had Stroll been present.

Despite his lack of running, Stroll still finished FP2 in sixth place, 0.543s shy of Alonso, who topped the times.

Regarding the progress the team has made since last season, Stroll said: “Incredible, it’s looking amazing. Just feeling great in the car too, so really a top job.”

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