The first race of the 2023 Formula 1 season was a smashing success for Aston Martin. Veteran driver Fernando Alonso powered his way to a third-place finish, his first podium since the 2021 season, and teammate Lance Stroll, whose status for the Bahrain Grand Prix was in doubt following a pre-season training injury, came across the line in sixth.
Now, Stroll is sharing with fans just how injured he was, and how returning for the Bahrain Grand Prix initially seemed like a longshot.
In a lengthy post on Instagram, the driver highlighted the extent of his injuries, and shared that doctors initially thought he might miss more than just pre-season testing.
“On Saturday, February 18th I crashed on my bike while training in Spain,” Stroll posted on social media. “The scans showed I had a fracture and displacement in my right wrist, a fracture in my left wrist, a partial fracture in my left hand and finally another fracture in the big toe on my right foot.”
Stroll elaborated on what doctors initially thought. “With the beginning of the season right around the corner the timing could not have been worse. My medical team, at first, believed I was not only going to miss testing, but realistically the first few races,” added Stroll. “48 hours after my accident/12 days before the first race Dr. Javier Mir successfully operated on my right wrist. Following surgery, Dr. Mir told me I’d be back for Jeddah if I worked hard and with a bit of luck he was optimistic I could race in Bahrain - but that was a faint possibility. To this day I am convinced the urgency Dr. Mir showed to me helped get me to Bahrain.”
Instead of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix being a mere possibility, Stroll worked his way back, managing to qualify for the race in eighth position.
In practice ahead of qualifying, Stroll seemed to struggle with the steering wheel, referencing his hands when trying to turn:
Returning to the track following a wrist injury, Lance Stroll gave it his all in FP2#BahrainGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/wdMN9JYbNB— Formula 1 (@F1) March 3, 2023
But Stroll credited his medical team, and the rehabilitation work he put in, for his return to the wheel, and his strong finish in Bahrain. Along with his post on Instagram, Stroll shared video clips of his recovery, and the exercises he was doing to get ready to return to the track.
“My medical team devised a programme that would help me restore mobility and strength in my wrists,” noted Stroll. “Rehab required hard work and persistence – but with an incredible medical team and my friends and family supporting me – I was able to push through the pain and get back on track in Bahrain with my team and fellow drivers. And we did it!!! I am thankful for everyone who supported me, sent kind notes and wishes!”