Lance Stroll says his “wrists were on fire” and he was “shedding a few tears” after his heart-in-mouth moment with teammate Fernando Alonso on the opening lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Stroll was running seventh alongside Mercedes’ George Russell as the pair barreled down towards Sakhir’s Turn 4 right-hander.
But the Canadian’s late braking saw his Aston Martin veer straight into the path of Alonso’s sister car that was cutting across the corner in an attempt to pass the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.
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Stroll miraculously avoided T-boning his teammate but the Aston’s left front nevertheless clipped Alonso’s rear right. Fortunately, no damage ensued for either driver.
While Alonso went on to secure a sensational podium, Stroll concluded his evening a remarkable sixth in the running order.
“It was really terrible timing honestly,” Stroll told Sky Sports F1 when asked about the incident.
“I was going on the inside of Russell, trying to stay in front of him, braked late, Fernando went for the cutback on Lewis, really stopped the car in the middle of Turn 4 and we just came together.
“Really horrible timing for all those things to happen with the great car we had today.
“Very fortunately we both saved it and went onto have a good race.”
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Stroll, who was still nursing in Bahrain his right wrist that was injured in a cycling crash just two weeks ago, admitted that gripping his steering wheel as he took avoiding action during the near miss with his teammate revived the pain.
“My wrists were on fire after that, I was shedding a few tears after that one,” Stroll admitted. “Most importantly we both stayed on track and went on to have a good race. Dodged a bullet for sure.”
Alonso immediately reacted over the radio to the sudden contact, but suspected Russell had been the culprit. The stewards noted the clash but deemed that no further action was necessary.
“I thought it was George,” Alonso said after the race. “I saw the replay on TV later and it was Lance!
“He had a very good start because he was alongside me in Turn 4, we got lucky, two cars didn’t have any problems and we could continue.
“It was our lucky day for many things, this contact and also to have both cars with strong points. [I’m] very happy for the team because they deserve it.”
Alonso also praised Stroll for a job well done, especially given his wrist injury.
“This is amazing,” he added. “By the way, Lance is my hero. Amazing performance from him. My team mate had surgery 12 days ago and now he’s fighting right with everybody.
“It’s amazing for the team. It was a great weekend and finishing on the podium in the first race of the year is just amazing.”
Stroll agreed that it had been a whirlwind two weeks since his cycling smash-up.
“It’s just been an insane journey. The last two weeks have been the most insane two weeks of my life,” he explained.
“A terrible time to crash on a bicycle and doctors were telling me, ‘Maybe Australia, maybe Baku [to return to F1]’.
“The light at the end of the tunnel was very hard to see but I had an incredible medical team that helped me along the way.
“My osteopath was with me 10 hours a day; my surgeon Dr [Xavier] Mir, without him, I wouldn’t be here, it would be impossible to be driving.
“There’s a list of people I could name and without them I wouldn’t be here [racing].”
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