Next month, Lance Stroll will contest the Australian Grand Prix from the cockpit of the Williams car. Following Max Verstappen’s successful plunge into the deep-end as a teenager, the possibility for an immediate impact from teenagers in Formula 1 seems more realistic.
Stroll’s race-seat is one in which regular points finishes will be expected to come to fruition. Whilst he will undoubtedly be given the rookie’s benefit of the doubt on a few occasions, Williams remain ambitious in their hopes of reclaiming 3rd in the Constructors and possibly winning races again.
Canadian newcomer Stroll believes that the wise old sage Felipe Massa will be crucial in steepening his learning curve.
“I’m really looking forward to Felipe being a mentor. For me, of course, we’re competitors and we want to beat each other, but at the same time I think he has a lot of respect as a driver, he’s well-respected throughout the paddock.
He’s a nice guy, a team player, and that’s really all you ask for being at a team.”
– Lance Stroll
Last season, Massa had a great opening stint with 6 consecutive points finishes from the opening six races, but starting falling off the pace after his retirement in Canada. He managed a point at Baku, but was unable to score again until another 10th place at the Belgian Grand Prix. From then on, he would only score 14 points from the remaining eight races.
If his ultimate pace does fall into question, his status as one of the sport’s biggest team-players can’t be overstated enough.
“You want someone that’s a team player and will help the team go forward and not create a problem on both sides of the garage. It’s really important to have two drivers that want to push the team in the right direction rather than fight.
It’s good to have that competitiveness in the team and the urge to want to beat the driver next to you, but at the same time we’ll respect each other and [we] want the best for the team.”
– Lance Stroll
Williams don’t have the strongest looking line-up on paper, but hitting the ground running with the new regulations could always see Massa and Stroll near the front. It’s an extreme blend of youth and experience that will definitely benefit Stroll’s development.