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Ocon tips Stroll to make F1 grade

Esteban Ocon tips fellow European Formula 3 title winner Lance Stroll to make a strong impact on his F1 debut with Williams in 2017.
Esteban Ocon says he expects Lance Stroll will be up to speed when he makes his F1 debut with Williams next season as the youngster prepares to make a direct leap from Formula 3.

The Canadian is set to become the second youngest driver to start an F1 race when he lines up on the Australian Grand Prix grid in March aged 18 years and 148 days, with only Max Verstappen getting an F1 bow at an earlier age.

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Stroll arrives at Williams Martini Racing on the back of a dominant title-winning turn in the European Formula 3 Championship, where he won 14 out of 30 races, while he has also participated in a series of private test sessions at the wheel of a 2015 specification machine to assist his development

With this in mind, Force India driver Ocon – winner of the 2014 European F3 Championship ahead of Verstappen – feels Stroll will be well prepared for his debut despite it being only his fourth season of car racing.

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“He did good, he did good in F3,” he said. “He didn't win in the first year, he won in the second, so he won with a bit more experience, but I think he will drive quite a lot in this winter so he will be ready for sure to start. He won and he's got the chance.”

Though Ocon's route to F1 with Manor Racing this year took him from F3 to GP3 and DTM, via a series of F1 tests, the Frenchman says he would have been ready to step up in 2015 if he had the opportunity to do so.

“I think I had good experience already because I tested Formula One after F3. Yeah I think I could have made the jump but it's also good to have more experience, to experience other things and then come more ready.”

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