Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll was surprised to see how quick Mercedes was in the 2023 F1 Spanish GP.
Since Aston Martin was the only team that could bridge the gap between Red Bull and the rest of the grid, Stroll was shocked by the sudden improvement in pace from the Silver Arrows.
Both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished on the podium with Max Verstappen, while Stroll and his Aston Martin teammate Fernando Alonso were left behind.
Lance Stroll stated how Mercedes W14 was a 'rocket' in the Spanish GP. He also expressed his confusion as to how Mercedes bumped up its performance so drastically.
"Mercedes had a rocket car. I'm not sure where they got that pace from. I expected that we would be the strongest car after Red Bull. I expected that after all the racing this year. We had it just don't. We had a lot of tire wear and were struggling with our pace compared to Merc and Ferrari. Red Bull is in a different league. We just didn't have the upper hand," Stross was quoted as saying by Motorsport-Total.
Lance Stroll went on to explain how Mercedes drivers took good care of their tires, while he was unable to do so because of a higher tire degradation rate.
"It's just that Mercedes took really good care of the tires. At the beginning of the first stint, when we were third, I had the feeling that I had the gap to I was able to hold Sainz and even pull away from Lewis a bit. But then, after about five laps of the race, I felt the tires wear out. Mercedes, however, kept pushing. Even if you look at Russell's races, I think they did that throughout the race could do," he added.
It is clear that Mercedes' new upgrade package helped the team quite a lot to unleash the performance it already had in its engines, which Aston Martin is using to stay second in the constructors' championship.
Lance Stroll enjoyed racing with Lewis Hamilton in the 2023 F1 Spanish GP
Lance Stroll recalled how he battled with Lewis Hamilton in the 2023 F1 Spanish GP before his tires started degrading. He explained his wheel-to-wheel battle with the seven-time world champion and how he overtook him.
In about five laps, Hamilton was able to pull away as the AMR23's tires started degrading.
In his post-race interview, Lance Stroll said:
"It was a fun battle with Lewis [Hamilton] on the first lap; I've pulled that move off before so I knew there was a gap and figured Lewis would leave me a bit of space, which he did. That put me in a good position going into Turn Five and I could hold the place. Then, from about five laps in, we really struggled with the pace."
At the end of the race, Lance Stroll ended up in sixth place, while Lewis Hamilton stood on the podium after finishing second.