Stroll defends extensive private testing ahead of F1 debut

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Lance Stroll has defended the extensive Formula 1 testing programme he has undergone ahead of his debut season, with the new Williams driver pointing to the similar examples of Jacques Villeneuve and Lewis Hamilton.

Stroll was confirmed at the Grove-based outfit for 2017 after dominating the European Formula 3 championship. In recent months, the Canadian ace has been gaining experience at the wheel of a 2014-specification Williams FW36 during private test sessions held at grand prix venues around the world.

Speaking to German publication Auto Motor und Sport in a wide-ranging interview, the 18-year-old revealed the scope of his training schedule but dismissed the idea that he is the best-prepared rookie in F1 history.

“By Christmas I had done four two-day tests and a shakedown at Silverstone,” Stroll said.

“Then Monza, Spielberg, Budapest, Barcelona and most recently in Abu Dhabi. Before the new season there will be a few outside of Europe but there is not yet the agreements with the circuits.

“I think Hamilton and Villeneuve did a lot of kilometres as well. Everyone has their way of getting used to Formula 1. Valtteri [Bottas] did the Friday practice sessions [with Williams in 2012].”

According to some reports, billionaire fashion tycoon Lawrence Stroll has spent an estimated $80 million in order to bankroll his son’s career and propel him to grand prix racing.

“Without him it would not have been possible,” the teenager admitted. “In this sport you need two things: talent and money. Others have sponsors but I have my father - the money had to come from somewhere.”

Stroll also refutes suggestions that coming from a wealthy background makes him less hungry for success, something Lewis Hamilton has often been quick to point out when comparing his ascent to F1 with that of former nemesis Nico Rosberg.

“I don't believe that’s the case. No matter what I've done, I've always wanted to win. Once you're in the cockpit with the visor down, it doesn't matter where you come from.”

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