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Stroll rejects notion of Massa as a mentor during rookie year

Written by  Feb 04, 2018

Lance Stroll has rejected claims his first Formula 1 teammate Felipe Massa played a mentor role during his rookie season at Williams last season.

Having a driver with the experience of the Brazilian alongside the Canadian teenager was crucial in their decision to allow Valtteri Bottas to join Mercedes a year ago, with the Grove-based team trusting Massa to lead them forward.

However, the former European F3 champion has played down the influence Felipe had on him during his first year, believing their relationship was no different to any he had previously had.

“I don’t think I had any guidance from him last year, whatsoever,” Stroll told Motorsport.com.

“He was busy trying to drive as fast as he could, and I was trying to drive as fast as I could. That was it. There was nothing more to it than that."

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Despite some tough races, stand out weekends in Baku and Monza helped the 19-year-old in finishing just three points behind the newly retired veteran in the drivers' championship.

And Stroll would suggest his performances wouldn't have been any different if Massa helped him or not.

“I don’t know why people seem to think there was a coach or a mentor thing going on. There wasn’t; it was just him doing his job and me doing mine, and whoever did it better finished ahead,"  he claimed.

“Whether my teammate is someone with 15 years’ experience or someone of one year's experience, my approach doesn’t change.”

This season is set to be a major test for Stroll with some still doubting his ability and now another young charger in Sergey Sirotkin across the garage, that partnership is also being questioned by some, including reserve driver Paul di Resta.

“It’s a risky decision, the driver line-up, in the experience the guys have got. Obviously, Lance has got a year under his belt, Sirotkin coming in," the Scot told Racer.

“The key things for me is already you’ve got McLaren who are a key championship contender and Renault as a constructor should be able to beat somebody like Williams. Where does that fall within where you are in keeping the momentum?

“Obviously as the years go on, the experience of having a Mercedes engine diminishes a bit, so they’ve got a tough ask.”

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