Lance Stroll believes his performances during 2017 answered his critics who had doubted that the 2016 FIA European Formula 3 Champion was ready for Formula 1.
The Williams Martini Racing driver finished twelfth in the final championship standings having scored forty points, and was only denied a top ten position in the final two races when team-mate Felipe Massa and Renault Sport Formula 1 Team’s Nico Hülkenberg leapfrogged him.
It took Stroll until the Canadian Grand Prix in June to score his first points of the season but he took a deserved podium next time out in Azerbaijan, and became the youngest ever front row starter in Italy after a strong performance in difficult conditions. His haul of points helped also Williams secure fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
“I think I have, actually I know I have,” said Stroll to Motorsport.com when asked whether he had answered his critics. “If people don’t want to see that, then that’s their problem.
“It’s not satisfying, I never did it to prove anyone wrong. I did it for me, that’s what’s motivated me this whole time. It’s not to prove anyone wrong, it’s to prove to myself that I’m capable of being the best I can be and doing a good job at what I do.
“It doesn’t change anything for me, I’m the same person I was eight months ago when I was going through those hard times.”
Despite his often-impressive results, Stroll has already admitted he needs to work on his qualifying performances, but he would have taken his points tally and results at the beginning of the season.
“It’s been a great year,” said Stroll. “We’ve definitely had some great results, broke some records.
“I’m looking where we sit today in the standings, with the amount of points we scored, 40 world championship points – if I could have signed up for that at the beginning of the year, going into my rookie season, I definitely would have.
“Of course there are things we’ve got to work on over the winter to come into next year stronger and better. Just more experience will help. But for a rookie season, I’m really happy about how it went.”