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Stroll sure luck will change after starting F1 career with three DNFs

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Lance Stroll was left ruing his luck once again last weekend in Bahrain after retiring from the race due to a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., marking a third straight DNF to start his Formula 1 career.

Stroll, 18, stepped up from Formula 3 to join Williams for 2017, making his debut at the Australian Grand Prix after an extensive testing program.

Stroll retired in Australia due to a brake issue before being punted out of the race on the opening lap in China by Sergio Perez.

Stroll and Sainz came together early on in Bahrain at Turn 1 as the latter exited the pit lane. The stewards deemed the incident to have been Sainz’s fault, handing him a three-place grid penalty for the next race in Russia.

While he was not responsible for the crash, Stroll was nevertheless frustrated after the race in Bahrain as his weekend came to an early end once again.

“I have put it behind me – what else can you do? Yes, it is frustrating, but it’s not in my hands,” Stroll told the official F1 website.

“These three races were an accumulation of bad luck: a brake failure in Australia, some kind of racing incident in China, and on Sunday being torpedoed by Carlos. Unlucky, all three incidents – but the tables will turn.

“It wouldn’t change anything to look at it in a negative way. It’s all about looking at the bright side and there are a lot of positives to take out of the first couple of races. And we are improving at every race.

“There are still 17 races ahead – and we haven’t even gone to Europe where I know all the tracks which will make things easier for me.”

Facing such a steep learning curve in F1, Stroll said he has gained plenty from his first three races despite the limited running.

“There have been some good moments in qualifying, but I am still watching and learning. It’s not so much the difficulty of Formula 1, but the difference of Formula 1 versus everything that I have done so far,” Stroll said.

“When you come here the tires seem almost a closed book and you have to open it and learn to read it. Then, of course, you have to learn the little tricks of the trade – for example, what it takes to makes the tires happy.

“That is why a [test] day like Tuesday is so important – when you are not limited on runs. It is working round to getting to the maximum with my capability as a racing driver.”

Fernando Alonso completes first test with United Autosports

Photo: United Autosports
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Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.

The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.

“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.

Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”

Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.

“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.

Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.