Claire Williams: Critics should be 'kinder' to Lance Stroll and cut him some slack

Claire Williams: Cut Stroll some slack (1:55)

Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams defends the performances of rookie driver Lance Stroll. (1:55)

Claire Williams says critics of her team's rookie driver Lance Stroll should "cut him some slack" instead of being overly critical of his difficult start to life in Formula One.

Eighteen-year-old Stroll has failed to score in his first six races of his debut campaign, a spell marred by several crashes. The fact Stroll's elevation to F1 was financed by billionaire father Lawrence has only served to fuel criticism and the negative connotation of the "pay driver" label.

However, Williams thinks it is important to remember Stroll's age when judging his performances.

"There's a lot of pressure on Lance's shoulders and we all have to remember how young he is still," Williams told ESPN at a Silverstone event marking her family team's 40th anniversary. "The transition between a junior Formula and Formula One is huge and I think people underestimate that.

"If you look at other drivers that are currently in our sport, the Vettels, the Raikkonens, those guys all had similar starts to their rookie years in Formula One. So people need to cut Lance some slack, if that was my one message that's what I would do and ask people to be a bit kinder to him."

Williams thinks too many people compare young F1 drivers to Max Verstappen and expect them to have the same sort of instant impact the Dutch teenager has had at Red Bull.

"I think with drivers we have in Formula One, all the rookies we have in Formula One are all comparing themselves to Max and that's equally not fair. These guys need to take a year to familiarise themselves with what they do, it's a unique, unique situation that we have someone like Max Verstappen in a Red Bull and [a pre-conception] that people can come in and do what they do like that. These guys need to take some time and get experience under their belts."

Stroll's next race will be on home soil in Montreal, where he will be the first Canadian to race at the event since Jacques Villeneuve in 2006.