Lance Stroll has revealed his 2020 results laid to rest some of the doubts in his own mind about whether he had what it takes to succeed in Formula 1.
The Canadian is an easy target for the critics, being the son of a team owner and therefore the subject of accusations that nepotism is the reason why he drives for Aston Martin, rebranded from Racing Point.
But last year, the previous flashes of prodigious talent shown by Stroll became more frequent as he recorded two podium finishes, in the Italian and Sakhir Grands Prix, while also achieving a brilliant pole position on a treacherously wet track in Turkey.
He also led for much of the race at Istanbul Park, again in difficult conditions, and the fact he ultimately finished down in P9 was because of damage to the car rather than any significant mistakes on his part.
The 2020 Racing Point was much the best car Stroll has driven and it enabled him to convince himself, first and foremost, that he can produce the goods at the highest level of motorsport.
“I think last year I proved a lot to myself mainly,” the 22-year-old told Motorsport.com.
“I just answered a lot of questions to myself that I’ve been asking myself in the last few seasons up until I had the opportunity to sit in a car that really performs.
“Am I capable of delivering results? To finish up at the front? Am I capable of qualifying up at the front? You just don’t get those results.
“A lot of it also wasn’t all down to results, it was just like ‘what does a competitive car feel like?’ How much better is it?
“[I didn’t know] until I sat in last year’s car and I realised how much of a difference there was, and how much I could also build on my driving being in a good car.
“One of the biggest advantages of being in a good car is what you can get out of yourself. It gives you so much more confidence driving the car. It allows you to attack the corners much harder and just push the car much harder.
“As drivers, that’s what we want to be able to do. And sometimes when you’re in a bad car, it takes away that confidence and that ability to push the car. That has a big impact on a driver.”