Hill: Lawrence Stroll 'proved everyone wrong'

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Damon Hill has praised Aston Martin F1 team owner Lawrence Stroll for his efforts in putting together a strong team in F1 and for "proving everyone wrong".

Since rescuing the ailing Force India outfit in the summer of 2018, Stroll has tackled F1 with the same determination and flair that led to his massive success in the business world as a prominent investor in such well-known brands such as Tommy Hilfiger or Michael Kors.

After ensuring Racing Point's stature as a top midfield contender - and as a Grand Prix winner - Stroll embarked on building Team Silverstone into a championship contender, overhauling the team's infrastructure by constructing a new state-of-the-art factory and hiring a team of high-profile engineers to carry the team forward.

Fernando Alonso's podium in last weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix and the level of performance of Aston's 2023 car are the first tangible signs that Stroll's vision is paying off.

"Lawrence has put his money where his mouth is and he’s put together this team and I think everyone thought ‘come on Lawrence, you know you’re going lose a lot of money here, you’re getting a little bit ahead of yourself'," Hill told Sky Sports News.

"But he proved everyone wrong. He’s put together this team, has put together the car. They’ve got Dan Fallows, who is ex-Red Bull and he knows a thing or two about what Red Bull are up to.

"So there’s a little bit of insight but they certainly won’t be getting any help from Red Bull from now on.

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"A great performance and [they] actually overshadowed the Mercedes team. Poor old Lewis and George Russell.

"This was a race that Toto [Wolff] described as the worst day in motor racing. I mean, they were humiliated, they were beaten by a customer car."

It's been suggested that if Aston can uphold its form in the upcoming races, it could become a dark horse in the 2023 championship. But Hill is skeptical about that optimistic prospect panning out.

"I think that might be a stretch too far," the 1996 F1 world champion.

“They’ve exceeded everyone’s expectations, they’ve exceeded mine, and they’ve probably exceeded their own so they’re very, very delighted at the moment."

Not so delighted however were those teams that hoped to give Red Bull a run for its money in Bahrain. Their efforts proved vain as the Milton Keynes-based outfit simply "cleaned up" at Sakhir, as Hill characterized the bulls' dominance

"I think there was some very forlorn-looking team bosses down the pits," he added. "It was a case of they [Red Bull] just cleaned up, and they disappeared into the distance.

"You couldn’t really forgive them for not knowing who was in the lead because poor old Max was out there doing his business, half a minute up the road.

"The rest of them were tripping over the rails with the exception, of course of Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin, which really for me was the winner of the race.

"I mean he put on the show, he put a fantastic dice on with Lewis Hamilton. So there was action there and got the crowd on their feet."

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