Former Formula 1 driver, Marc Surer, has affirmed that Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll is better than people give him credit for.
The Canadian was signed to the Williams team in 2017 to partner Valtteri Bottas, but the Finn was called up to Mercedes following the shock retirement of Nico Rosberg.
Felipe Mass then reneged on his retirement and, generally, the former Ferrari driver out-performed his rookie team-mate.
However, it was the Canadian that scored the team’s only podium of the season in Baku, and he would spend one more year with the British team before heading to Racing Point – now Aston Martin.
His move to the Silverstone-based squad was criticised due to the fact that his father, Lawrence, has funded his career, but two podiums followed in 2020 in Italy and Sakhir, as well as a pole position in Turkey, have proven his worth.
The 23-year-old has out-raced current Aston Martin team-mate, Sebastian Vettel, five times this season, out-performing him in six races in what has been a close fight at the British side.
Stroll has been in the points five times, and he has helped them stay ahead of Williams in ninth in the Constructors’ Standings with a massively underperforming car.
Therefore, Surer reckons that some of the criticism given to the driver is perhaps a little harsh.
“Lance Stroll is better than people think,” he told Formule1.de.
“Don’t forget, he also set the fastest time, he can do that.”
When Vettel retires at the end of the season, Stroll will partner Fernando Alonso, who is set to arrive from Alpine.
Surer does not believe that Stroll is quite on the level of either of those world champions, but he serves as reliable back-up.
“[Stroll is] not the super talent like a Vettel or an Alonso – he is a number two driver,” added the ex-F1 racer.
“He is not bad and he is good enough to score points, after all, he proves that again and again – with a car that is bad at the moment.”
Daniel Ricciardo is set to leave McLaren at the end of the 2022 season after struggling to match the performance of his team-mate, Lando Norris.
Proportionately, Surer reckons Stroll has coped better alongside Vettel than the Australian has against Norris.
“He doesn’t drop off as blatantly against Vettel as you would expect, so he fulfils the function as a number two driver. If you compare it to McLaren, he’s in a better position,” said the 11-time points finisher.
“Stroll is closer to Vettel than Ricciardo is to Norris. If the car was a bit better, Stroll would also be in the points regularly.”
Stroll is 18th in the Drivers’ Standings, five positions behind Vettel.