Lance Stroll is confident that he can step up as team leader for Williams in Formula 1 this year as he partners rookie driver Sergey Sirotkin following Felipe Massa's retirement.

Stroll made his F1 debut in Australia last year after stepping up from Formula 3, and went on to finish the year 12th in the drivers' championship with one podium finish to his name.

The Canadian will be Williams' most experienced driver in F1 this year as Sirotkin gears up for his debut later this month, with the duo set to be supported by development driver Robert Kubica, who last raced back in 2010.

Asked if he felt in a position to lead the team, Stroll said: “For sure, I believe that all of us together can give a good input on things, including Robert.

"He has a lot of experience and now he has driven the car a few times. I think he has a good idea of what can be improved and what are our weaknesses.

"So with all of us working together I believe that we will be able to help the team in the best way possible."

Stroll enjoyed his first extended running in the Williams FW41 car last week in Barcelona at pre-season testing, but is waiting to see where the team stacks in the pecking order against its rivals before making any firm predictions for the season ahead.

"We’ll see where the car is. If the car is capable of competing for points every weekend then definitely anything can happen," Stroll said.

"A podium is always possible if you are in the right place at the right time. Obviously there are differences between the cars and the teams, that is not a secret. It really just comes down to where we are going to be in the field and we’ll go from there.

"If the car is capable of finishing eighth then I want to get the most out of the car and put it eighth. If the car is only capable of finishing 13th to start the year then that has to be our goal. We have to see first where we are and then we’ll go from there.

"But definitely if we can be competitive and if I can start on the front row and be on the podium again and those kind of things, then that would be fantastic. But like I said, first we have to see where we are."

 

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