Claire Williams believes those who have been criticising Lance Stroll since the eighteen-year-old made his Formula 1 debut this season should give the Canadian some slack.
The Deputy Team Principal of the Williams Martini Racing squad believes some of the criticism of Formula 1’s youngest driver has been unfair and unwarranted, and those within the team knew Stroll would take time to adjust to live in F1, especially after jumping from Formula 3.
None of the six venues Formula 1 has visited so far have been familiar to Stroll, meaning the Canadian has been forced to learn circuits, with Williams believing he has adapted relatively well despite failing to score a point.
“I do think people should give him a break,” said Williams to Motorsport.com. “Some of the stuff I have seen has been pretty unpleasant and I don’t think it is fair or warranted.
“He’s a young kid, people forget that. They forget how difficult the transition is between F3 and F1 and no one is going to come into this sport and straight away blow everyone away – that’s just unrealistic.
“We always said from the outset that he needed some time to familiarise himself. All the circuits so far this year, he hasn’t driven on and he has equipped himself well.
“When he hasn’t finished invariably, it hasn’t been his fault. So I think the criticism that has been levelled at him is grossly unfair.”
Williams believes that Stroll’s results in his first six races have been similar to other drivers currently on the grid who are now race winners and champions, with none of his four retirements so far down to driver error.
“If you look at some of the drivers that we have in our sport that are up there winning races and their statistics from the first six races, they are pretty similar,” said Williams.
“People need to look at precedent before they start criticising. Unfortunately, he’s had four out of six DNFs. It would be nice if people remembered that and cut him a bit of slack.
“I know he’ll be looking forward to going to Canada, but there will be a huge amount of pressure on his shoulders, and it’s a difficult track. He deserves a good finish.”