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Stroll enjoyed "many" highlights in "great" rookie F1 season

Written by  Dec 05, 2017

Lance Stroll believes there are "many" highlights he can look back on during what he also described as a "great" rookie season in Formula 1 with Williams in 2017.

The decision by the historic British team to choose the 19-year-old Canadian for a seat was controversial, despite Stroll making the step up after becoming the European F3 champion last year.

The main reason being, though he made the same jump as Max Verstappen did in 2015, many saw his promotion as purely financial due to the backing offered by his billionaire father Lawrence, therefore, it was up to Lance to shake off the 'pay driver' tag.

Crashes in testing and three consecutive retirements to start his career didn't help, nor did the sizeable pace gap between him and Felipe Massa, who opted to stay at Williams for what would be one last year after Valtteri Bottas joined Mercedes.

Indeed, Stroll described his baptism of fire as "rock bottom" of his first year, stating: "I knew I was going to face adversity at some stage of my first year and it hit me quite early in the year but I just tried to stay level headed and not let it get to me.

“I think that is what we did best as a group. My entourage and engineers who have worked with me have always believed in me and we bounced back from that."

Eventually, after scoring his first points in F1 at home in Montreal, things did improve and he would be delighted with how his season evolved.

“It has been a great year,” Stroll declared. “We’ve definitely had some great results, broke some records and, looking where we are today in the standings with the amount of points we’ve scored (40) if I could have signed up for that at the beginning of my rookie season I definitely would have.

“Of course there will be things to work on over the winter to come on stronger and better next year, the more experience will help but for a rookie season I’m really happy with how it went.”

The most notable result would come in Azerbaijan, as a mature performance, staying calm during the year's craziest race, would be rewarded with a third-place finish, becoming the youngest podium scorer in F1 in the process. For Lance, however, other moments stood out for different reasons.

“Many,” he said when asked about highlights. “Baku in terms of results was the best race but I think I’ve had better races. Mexico was a great race finishing sixth, Monza was a great weekend in general with qualifying on the front row in the wet and then finishing seventh in the race, Malaysia was a great race finishing eighth.

"We’ve been in the points multiple times, seven points finishes, and many of those races were really great races when we did a great job. I think we’ve done a really good job this year capitalising on opportunities and I want to keep doing that in the future and do it better by keep improving as a driver."

Considering what he needs to do better in 2018, he added: “Improving my Saturdays will improve my Sundays so there is an exciting future ahead.”

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