F1 rookie Lance Stroll not worried about criticism

Lance Stroll's car following a crash during Friday afternoon's practice session in Monaco. (Photo: Adam Cooper)

Lance Stroll says he’s not worried about people criticizing his form in 2017 – and insists that he’s not under any extra pressure, despite a difficult start to his rookie season.

Stroll has struggled to match the pace of teammate Felipe Massa, and has also been involved in several incidents, including one in FP2 on Friday in Monaco. He says some people will always be negative.

“Obviously I come from a background that when I win, people try and put me down, and when I lose, people try and put me down,” he said. “I accept that and I actually find it kind of funny. But whatever, that’s out of my control, I’m focused on what I’m doing, I’m enjoying my time in F1, I’m enjoying the experience, I’m here competing at 18 years old and it’s very special. I’m just taking it race by race.

“It’s the same pressure as always, the pressure you put on yourself to come out and compete and do well,” he said. “It’s F1, and there’s obviously pressure, but nothing more than in the past. I’ve got to take it race by race and focus on what you can do. The rest is kind of out of your control.

“I won my championships to get here, I’m here and it’s my first five races, and it’s been a bit tricky. It doesn’t just change everything. There’s still a long season ahead of me. We’ve had our fair share of bad luck as well in the first few races. There’s been opportunity for points. In certain races we had bad luck, in Russia I made a mistake on lap one, and there were definitely points there. It’s still early days.”

Williams technical boss Paddy Lowe says that the team has to help Stroll to deal with the pressure.

“One of the very difficult things for Lance is the enormous pressure placed upon him,” said Lowe. “He’s a driver with a lot of expectation around him, not just from people close to him, but even more from across the paddock, because there’s a lot of spotlight on how he got here, and does he really deserve the drive, and all of those things.

“Of course racing drivers are by their nature super competitive, so they’re the best or the worst at beating themselves up if they don’t think they’re performing as they should. That cascades and creates its own pressure for him even if there is not enough from outside. It’s a good question that there are no easy answers to, how do you undo that pressure?

“One of the things that’s important is to just enjoy it, to be honest. Why do people drive racing cars? Because they love driving quick cars. And if you’re not here enjoying it, it’s actually not going to go well. That is more easily said than done, with all the pressures I mentioned.”