Smedley: Judge rookie Stroll after six months

Date published: March 14 2017

Williams performance chief Rob Smedley has insisted that people should reserve judgment on Lance Stroll until he has had six months to settle in.

The Canadian teenager came in for plenty of criticism after crashing the FW40 three times in two days during the first Winter Test.

Stroll had a much better second week, though, and got plenty of important mileage under his belt, with Smedley believing he does have to potential to compete with Felipe Massa.

"If Lance had driven in the same conditions as Felipe, he would have done a 1:19.6," Smedley told Auto Motor und Sport. "That would be more than respectable.

"What he needs now is confidence."

Smedley also warned Stroll that he has a smaller margin for error in Australia, but still thinks it is wrong to judge a new driver so quickly.

He added: "Melbourne will be tough enough for him — new track, limited practice and the walls are closer than in Barcelona.

"The pressure on Lance is extremely high.

"He is only 18, everything is new, the cars are so fast and everyone is looking at him.

"He goes to Melbourne with only 180 minutes of preparation before qualifying. Give him half a year to familiarise.

"Only then can we form a judgement about him."