Lance Stroll says starting his rookie Formula 1 season with three retirements from the opening three races came as his lowest point in his burgeoning career but is thrilled to have recovered from a tough beginning with Williams.

The Canadian driver was hit by waves of criticism during his F1 debut with three DNFs in a row, despite the retirements largely not his fault having suffered brake failure in his first race in Australia followed by two collisions which he was a victim of in China and Bahrain.

Stroll showed impressive mettle to bag maiden points at his home event in Canada before steering clear of trouble to become the youngest podium finisher in F1 history with third place in Azerbaijan – the only driver outside of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull to reach the rostrum in 2017.

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Stroll confessed he felt at his lowest after the Bahrain race, when he was hit by Carlos Sainz Jr exiting the pits, but has been relishing the challenge of fighting back which was capped by his podium in Baku.

“I’ve experienced what it is like to hit rock bottom but I have also done that in other categories and bounced back so I really experienced persistence and the will to become better every day,” Stroll said. “F1 demands that more than anywhere else so you’ve got to be the best you can because there is little room for error.

“After Bahrain it was pretty tough. Not finishing the first three races regardless of whether it was my fault or a mechanical failure or whatever I just did get to the finish of the race. I also had a tough time at winter testing but that was kind of expected as well.

“I knew I was going to face adversity at some stage of my first year and it hit me quite early in the year but I just tried to stay level headed and not let it get to me. That was a great challenge that I’ve embraced and enjoyed the journey travelling the world competing at the highest level.”

Stroll is eager to have a ‘team player’ alongside him at Williams next season after waving goodbye to the retiring Felipe Massa at the end of this season. Robert Kubica remains favourite for the Williams race seat for 2018 after impressing during the Abu Dhabi tyre test with the British squad.

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Lance has had a good solid 1st season in F1 and with Williams he will progress next year. People criticize him for using his family wealth but I'd bet most drivers would use every advantage they had to further their careers. Why should he not? He has skills, let's see what he can do with them.

Quite agree. He hasnt dont too badly.