Lance Stroll has played down the significance of his direct switch from the European Formula 3 Championship to Formula 1 with Williams this season, insisting he will benefit more from soaking up the 'pressure' of F1 than spending another season in the junior ranks.
The 18 year-old will become the second youngest driver to start an F1 race when he makes his F1 debut with Williams Martini Racing at the 2017 Australian Grand Prix, the Canadian earning his spot in the team after dominating the European F3 Championship in 2016.
However, though Stroll won 14 of the 30 races last season, the direct move from F3 to F1 is considered a substantial step given he will be entering only his fourth season of car racing when he reaches F1.
Even so, Stroll – who will become the first Canadian since Jacques Villeneuve to race in the series – feels a move into GP2 wouldn't represent the same benefits than for him to be thrown in at the deep end against the best in the world, adding that he is prepared to take on the pressure.
“The reason for not doing GP2 is that F3 is a very high level, and if the opportunity for Formula One arises nothing prepares you for Formula 1 like actually competing in Formula 1. GP2 is a step up and it's that middle step, one that is sometimes good to make, but I don't think anything actually compares to actually competing in Formula One.
“Of course there's pressure, but it's a good pressure. You need that pressure, without it, what are we doing here? There's always that pressure and that's why we love it, to have that adrenaline and that pressure to achieve great things.”
Stroll was originally revealed as Williams' new driver alongside Valtteri Bottas and replacing Felipe Massa, who subsequently retired from F1. However, with Bottas set to be poached by Mercedes to replace Nico Rosberg in its title-winning team, Massa is tipped to make a surprise comeback in F1 2017 with Williams.
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