Lance Stroll, Formula One’s latest teenager, expects to take step up in his stride

Canadian teenager Lance Stroll is confident he can cope with the step up to Formula One when he joins Williams for next season.

Lance Stroll will be the second youngest driver, after Red Bull's Max Verstappen, to race in Formula One when he lines up for Williams next season. Mark Thompson / Getty Image
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ABU DHABI // Canadian teenager Lance Stroll is confident he can cope with the step up to Formula One when he joins Williams for next season.

Stroll, 18, will become the second youngest driver to ever start a grand prix, behind only Max Verstappen, when he lines up on the grid at the Australian Grand Prix next March.

The European Formula 3 champion is missing out on GP2 and GP3, the traditional feeder series to F1, to make the move to the top echelon of motorsport.

“When you have an opportunity to go into Formula One nothing quite prepares you for it, other than doing Formula One,” he said in the paddock at Yas Marina Circuit as the Williams team took part in practice ahead of Sunday’s Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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“GP2 is definitely the step in between but I don’t think it prepares you as well as actually competing in F1. There is nothing that prepares for Formula One other than doing 21 grand prix in a Formula One car and that is why I am here today.”

Stroll believes his achievements this season, when he won the F3 title by 187 points, winning 14 of 30 races, means he deserves his shot with Williams, where he will replace the retiring Felipe Massa as teammate to Valtteri Bottas.

“I won F3,” he said. “I dominated the championship and if I didn’t do those things and Williams didn’t believe I was ready I wouldn’t be here.”

Stroll did not get behind the wheel on Friday, with the teenager spending his time in the car as a watching brief to get used to the workings of a grand prix weekend as well as the engineers and mechanics he will be working with in 2017.

Stroll’s experience of a F1 car thus far has been driving a modified 2014 chassis, due to the restrictions on how much testing a team can do with their current car in one year.

Of how he had enjoyed driving the car so far, he said: “What I have learnt so far is it is very powerful.

“The power is a lot more than what I am used to in F3 but you get used to it. It is another step and I am getting used to it every time I get in the seat.”

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